Review - 19 July, 1995, The Melody Fair, Buffalo, NYFrom: Dave Emlen
Date: Thur, 20 Jul 95 9:00:00 -500
Subject: Kinks at the Melody Fair in Buffalo
On the drive out to Buffalo from Rochester I tuned in to a Buffalo "oldies" radio station and heard parts of a telephone interview with Ray Davies, done earlier in the day. One of the questions was, "what are the future plans for the Kinks?" Ray mentioned a double CD called "To The Bone" coming out later in the year.
At the Melody fair they were selling two different T-shirts -- one black with the "To The Bone" skull on the front and tour dates on the back, and one grey with "The Kinks" in a sort of starburst design on the front and "US Summer Tour 1995" on the back. Both shirts were $22. There was also a baseball cap with "The Kinks" stitched on the front, also $22.
When I got inside I found I had *the* worst seat in the house. It's a circular, revolving stage and I was right at the front on the side where they had set up all the equipment, such as Ray's makeshift changing room which was right in front of me, blocking my view of 90% of the stage. After the Kinks started playing I was able to move over two seats to the left so I was able to see 50% of the stage -- half a Kinks concert is better than none!
The opening act, Stacey something, took the stage promptly at 8 p.m. She played for 30 minutes and was quite good.
Ray came on stage a little after 9 p.m. for his solo performance.
- Stop Your Sobbing
- A Well Respected Man
- Dedicated Follower of Fashion
- half of Do It Again
- Till The End Of The Day -- more true to the original than the arrangement they were playing in the 80's and on One For The Road, which sounded like it could have been a cover of someone else's cover.
- The Hardway
- Low Budget
- Celluloid Heroes
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Ray singing)
- Sleepwalker (Dave singing)
- Living On A Thin Line
- Come Dancing
- Gallon Of Gas -- instrumental only, which led right into...
- Sleazy Town
- "Buffalo Blues"
- All Day And All Of The Night
- You Really Got Me
Songs I was hoping they would play, since they've played them recently and I've never heard them live before: It's Alright (YRGM b-side), Good Golly Miss Molly, Death Of A Clown, Set Me Free, Days and Scattered. Also Too Much On My Mind, which I have heard live before, but I love the way Dave sings it.
Before YRGM Ray mentioned that there were two reasons for this tour: one was to finish up the last tour which was canceled when Ray hurt his foot (then why are they playing mostly East coast shows instead of all the West coast ones that were canceled?), and the second reason was to do a "warm-up" tour to get people ready for a new album at the end of this year or the beginning of next year (presumably the double To The Bone CD).
After the show I waited for 50 minutes outside of their dressing room hoping to get Dave to sign my "Dave Davies & Glamour" CD booklet, but they left through a different door and were on their bus before I could get there. That was a bummer (unlike a lot of people I get e-mail from, I have never met one of the Kinks).
I came away feeling a little disappointed about my seat, the lack of "surprise" songs and missing out on an autograph, but I must say the Kinks were in top form and put on an excellent show.
Subject: The Kinks review....
Date: Thursday, July 20, 1995 9:52AM
The concert was great. We were about 11 rows from the front of the rotating stage. I just counted up the number of times I've seen them, and this makes #10!!!! WOW! It's been 7 years since I last saw them!!!! I enjoyed the small and intimate arena atmosphere. Only wondered if they missed playing the big arenas. Rick enjoyed the show....first time for him. He didn't realize they had so many songs he was familiar with - thought they were by other artists. They played for about 1 1/2 hours. Here's the song list, with only the Opening and Encore correct....I forgot to bring something to write them down :(! I know I forgot some songs, but these are the one's I remembered:
- Stop your Sobbing
- A Well Respected Man
- Dedicated Follower of Fashion
- Do it Again (Not the whole song)
Kinks main set:
- Til The End Of The Day (I think...?)
- Low Budget
- Celluloid Heroes
- Living on a Thin Line
- Come Dancing
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else
ps. sorry I didn't go into more detail.......busy release day here at work!!!!
From: S Bradley Self
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 23:55:42 -0400 (EDT)
To: Dave the Kinks hompage guy
Subject: Buffalo Show
Kinks at Melody Fair, Buffalo, NY 7/19/95
Here are some thoughts, observations and tidbits from the Buffalo show:
REVIEWThis was my 9th Kinks show-dating back to the Word of Mouth tour- and my favorite for performance and personal reasons. The set list has already been posted so I won't duplicate it here. I do however have a "planned set list" which contains everything that was played at the show along with:
- Give The People What They Want
- Too Much On MY Mind
- Dead End St.
- It's Alright (Life On Mars)
- Set Me Free
- David Watts
- Twist & Shout
The band was in great form. Everybody seemed to be having a lot of fun, there were no dirty looks behind each others' back which I have seen and heard about in the past. Interestingly though, Ray and the band arrived and departed in one van while Dave and a woman occupied another van. On the Phobia tour it was Ray and his wife (who was not present) that came separately.
I thought Dave was exceptional on this evening his Leads on Low Budget, the absolutely perfect lead he performed to start Celluloid Heroes, and his Sleazy Town intro-which I like BTW-were all wonderful. The bluesy Sleazy Town intro was intense. He had that Telecaster talking, even Ray seemed impressed.
Ray seemed exceptionally jovial during the show. As the stage revolved there were times I could see him smiling to Bob in satisfaction. He interacted often with the audience, told little stories to open songs and seemed to have unlimited energy. He didn't look near the 51 years that he is. It seems to me he is most comfortable, and extremely genuine onstage, the interaction with the crowd and the demands of the spotlight bring out a dynamic individual who seems rather subdued (from what I've seen and heard) in other aspects of his life.
The other members of the band also appeared to be having a great time. The rhythm section of Bob, Ian and Jim back up the Davies brothers splendidly and seem to sometimes be taken for granted.
The crowd was fairly enthusiastic. They joined in heartily on Ray's solo Dedicated Follower of Fashion and to a lesser extent A Well Respected Man which directly proceeded it. IMHO, they were a little lame through the middle of the show, most of them sitting most of the time, even on numbers like Low Budget, and Lola. They attempted to make up for it on the encores however, standing and dancing through all three encore tunes. As might be expected, a few fans were exceptions to this rule cheering, standing, dancing and joining in whenever they could. Ray gave fans singing opportunities and Dave let them strum his guitar.
The venue turned out to be extremely intimate with the stage only inches higher than a platform which encircled it. That allowed front row fans to reach out and touch the Kinks (which they did when appropriate) often. The band did much to encourage contact and the security was loose and friendly (as far as security goes). Being that the show was in the round, interaction with both brothers and Ian was possible from any area rather than a single seat focus confined to either Ray or Dave, unless you were unfortunate enough to be blocked by Ray's "dressing room" as mentioned in an earlier post.
TIDBITS & GOSSIPMy friend and I were early enough, fortunate enough, and persistent enough to find out the following pieces of information from the listed sources.
- The Kinks are definitely billed for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame show. Ian (the keyboardist) and Cullen (Ray's guitar tech) however knew nothing about it. We live in the Cleveland area and therefore knew it was confirmed, yet when we told them they knew nothing about it, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Ray and Dave "borrowing" someone elses' rhythm section for that show.
- When we mentioned that show we also asked if Cullen if Ray and Chrissey Hynde might do Hatred together, no word can adequately describe his reaction. Glad we didn't ask Ray. :)
- Ian said the U.S. version of To The Bone will be a double with more stuff from the Konk sessions. He also told us they recorded some b-sides and other obscure stuff that will hopefully make it on the release.
- Ian also said the full band plans to hit the states again to promote To The Bone once Ray finishes up with his solo dates promoting his book.
PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SHOWI figured I wouldn't force my highlights on anybody, while really wanting to share them, so I decided they would be last on this list.
I was really fortunate at this show. Almost everything I could have realistically hoped for happened. The one realistic hope which eluded me was: Dave's autograph.
We drove 6-7 hours to get there and just as we arrived sound check was ending. As we walked up, Jim and Ray entered the van which took them back to the hotel. We decided to hang out hoping to notice the van when it reentered. While we hung out, it was so early the gates were open and security was non-exisistent, we talked with Cullen and Dave (the program manager, I think) and got an early look at the stage. By the time the band had arrived security had tightened and there was no way to access the band so we went in.
We managed front row seats (I'm still not sure how) which were directly in front of Ray when the stage wasn't revolving, and it didn't throughout the encores. Because we had such great seats I had opportunities to interact with the band I had never had before. Ray held the microphone out to me as I belted out a "Low budget," that was really great. And on a revolution of the stage, Dave allowed me to strum his guitar, as he does for fans at every show, during one of his leads. The intimacy of seeing them that close, (I shook hands or clapped with each of them a few times) was really intense. I could see the looks of satisfaction on all of their faces and even noticed the slightest bit of a frown on Ray's face as Dave forgot the words to Sleepwalker. It seemed the band noticed us (other fans certainly did, at least 15 complimented our intensity after the show). At times both Ray and Dave gave us smiles when they were not being featured and were themselves in more of a background role.
After the show we waited outside the "star room" hoping either Ray or Dave would show up. I read the post of the gentleman who runs the homepage-sorry I don't know your name-who were you? I was the tall guy with glasses who had the photo of Dave in his hands. I wore a stripped blue and red shirt, and stood next to the guy guarding the door much of the time. Sorry I was so close and didn't get a chance to thank you in person for an excellent Kinks homepage! [I was the guy in the green shirt standing by myself next to the stairs -- I was carrying a shopping bag (full of T-shirts) - dte] Anyways, we waited there for awhile as we watched the people pack up the stuff and out popped Ian with a cake. He walked back to the stage area and a couple minutes later my friend followed. I followed after that and he signed the photo I had of Dave (thanks again Tom!). After chatting with Ian for a bit he left again and we went back to waiting for Ray or Dave. There were two doors which lead to the star area so we posted a man at each with our other friend at a place where he could see both of us. We missed Dave, but Ray came out the door I wasn't standing at so through our relay, I was able to catch him right before he got in the van and have him sign my picture of Dave. In fact he was so eager to leave he initialed it rather than signing it as he did my friends just a second earlier.
So that was it, except I did manage to get a pick from both Ray and Dave's guitar techs. Dave uses Gibson picks, and Ray uses a nylon pick made by some company I've never heard of called Herco. Maybe he really is on a Low Budget!
Special thanks to Phil Wood, without whom this article and experience would not have been possible.
Here's wishing you the bluest skies,
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 12:10 -0400
Subject: Melody Fair (Buffalo, 7/19/95)
Last night, I saw the Kinks spin on the revolving stage of Melody Fair on Wed., July 19, in Tonawanda (Buffalo), NY. I had hoped to hear "Around the Dial," which I think Ray based upon a Buffalo DJ, but no dice. He did crack a few jokes about the strange name "Buffalo," and worked it into the beginning of "Lola." Did anyone keep a set list? It was interesting to hear Dave sing lead on "Sleepwalker," which I'd not heard him do before. Did Ray or Dave sing it at the other shows? Dave's other lead vocal was "Living on a Thin Line." The band also played "Come Dancing" and "I'm Not LIke Everybody Else," before which Ray explained that it's sort of the theme and identity of the KInks as a band. Someone in the crowd made a home-made poster of Ray with the large caption, "Phenomenal Cat," and Ray was quite pleased with it. At one point, during a song, he came over and kissed the hand of one of the people holding it up. Of the four times I've seen the Kinks, I've never seen Ray and Dave more interested in touching and being touched by the happy crowd. Ray also mentioned that a new album would be coming out this year called _To the Bone_ (no word on label or whether it's the same as the UK version but the tour shirt cover art is same as UK cover). Ray changed his clothes about 5 or 6 times during the show, and for the one-song first encore "All Day and All of the NIght," he wore a Union Jack suit. This is definitely a "Greatest HIts" tour, but not really a _To the Bone_ tour because in Buffalo there weren't any acoustic numbers apart from the intro. medley which Ray also did on the _Phobia_ tour. There were _Phobia_ KInks logo baseball caps on sale for $22, but I don't think they played even one track from that album. Here's hoping they'll tour the states again when the domestic _To the Bone_ comes out.
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 16:07:07 -0400
Well, the band was just fine, and so am I! Didn't write down the set list, but it looks pretty much like Yoshi's except they did "The Hard Way" -- which pleased me very much. And I love Sleazey Town, so there! Did you all know that it was inspired by Cleveland, according to Ray?
My gosh, the audience at Melody Fair -- we all look like our parents now!!!! I feel older, I feel fatter -- until we turn off the house lights and that old electricity strips away the years. Someone in the audience had a huge poster: "Phenomenal Cat" but the band did not oblige on that one. They all were in a very happy, smiley, hand-grabbing mood. So all of you going to the next shows should have one dandy time of it!
Ta ta for now,
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 19:53:28 -0400
From: Barrie Clemo
Subject: Kinks in Buffalo
The July 19 show in Buffalo was wonderful. Ray had them eating out of his hand on the first song and it was 90mins of mayhem.
The set list was the same as on other nights of the tour so I wont repeat it. This is actually a very organised event with 6 roadies. However Ray injects just the right amount of anarchy.
It was in a small theatre in the round where the farthest row from the stage is about the 18th so everyone can really see and hear. The audience is so close that Ray and Dave were continually out in the crowd shaking hands. Dave has a routine where he holds his guitar out to be touched and pulls it back at the last minute.
As usual Ray had the crowd singing right from song # 2, "Well respected man" and this continued right through. Is there any other band that puts on this kind of a music hall show? Three encores: All Day..., Victoria( without the middle break) and YRGM. Everyone went home happy. Ray and Dave seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Enjoy the rest of the tour. My ears finally stopped ringing this morning.
From: Ray Lancashire
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 95 13:47:51 CST
Subject: Review submission
SHUFFLIN' OFF TO BUFFALO
by Ray Lancashire (original fan, circa 1964)
For all of us Kinks fans scattered far from Konk Studios, attempting to see our heroes in live action can be an extremely frustrating exercise. Kinks management/record companies/et al have never done a particularly great job at publicizing the Band in the past 30 years, so should we really be surprised that today is no different?
Take the recent one-night gig in Buffalo's North Tonawanda neighbourhead, 15 miles from the famous Niagara Falls, just across the lake from Toronto, scene of many a past Kinks triumph. I learned of the U.S. Summer Tour and this gig via the Internet from Edinburgh-based brother Ron, well-known to many of The Kinks hard-core devotees, and occasional reviewer (his report of the Aberdeen concert being a classic). No press, no advertising in Toronto, home to thousands of fans. Ah, well, they wouldn't be The Kinks otherwise, would they!
Having travelled to such exotic venues as the basketball arena of the University of Rochester several years ago to see the lads, what's a 160 kilometer trip to Buffalo on a warm summer's evening? So tickets secured (via telephone - price $19.50 U.S. each), off I went with the fair lady in tow to Melody Fair, a "theatre in the round" concept hall which can hold up to 3,400 people.
After meeting some new generation fans in the parking lot (who had not even been born when I heard the strains of "You Really Got Me" for the first time) and marvelling at their enthusiasm for a band that defies all explanation (maybe that's the attraction), we sat a waited for the lights to go down, eager for the first strains of the now familiar intro. A revolving stage, and seats only 30 feet away, made the prospect even more appealing in what proved to be a great building for a concert.
Following his recent routine, out came Ray, sans Band, with acoustic guitar to huge applause, and started out with "Stop Your Sobbing", followed by "Well Respected Man" and right into "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" - and the love-in had begun.
The now-famous Kinks intro, with Ray counting down the arrival of Dave and the rest of the Band, worked well and suddenly we were rockin' to "Till the End of the Day", closely followed by "Take the Hard Way", which still sounded fresh after all these years. Any handcuffs left came off with the cover song from "Low Budget", featuring Ray wearing an outrageous striped shirt in celebration of the song's sentiments. This followed by the fast version of "Apeman" which seems to have gained permanent status on the play list in recent years (I still prefer the slower version).
And, as only The Kinks seem to be able to do, the fans were back in their seats enthralled by a superb version of "Celluloid Heroes", the best this fan has heard live. But it was obvious already that Ray's voice was not up to scratch and it showed on "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" which lost some of its energy as Ray talked through some of the words to save his strained vocal cords. (Again, it was often difficult to hear the lyrics, and only the fact that all numbers were standard, helped fans sing along).
"Sleepwaker", featuring Dave on lead vocals was a disaster. The normal mid-song cord change never happened. Although Dave kept hitting it, he found no close followers. But no matter, Dave made up for it by excelling in what has become his party piece, "Thin Line", before Ray joined it at the end as a prelude to blowing away the 2,000-strong audience with "Come Dancing". (There were to be no surprises this night - only the classics all the way. Calls for "Oh, Suzanna", "Plastic Man", etc. went unheeded. Are these seldom-sung classics never to be heard live again in North America?).
Another change of glad rags for Ray signalled a strong version of Cadillac, then straight into "Sleezy Town", with Dave almost into mid-tour form. Then all was well with the non believers as the strains of "Lola" were greeted by a standing O, as everyone's favourite rock singalong braved another outing in public (and ended the set at exactly one hour. This was not going to be a long night with Ray's voice still working on hitting tour form!).
After the usual hysterical applause to get them back on stage, the boys were back for a great go with "All Day and All of the Night", then a shortened version of "Victoria", before another return to complete an evening of Klassic Kinks with "You Really Got Me".
A total of 17 songs in an hour and a half, including Ray's three solo. Not enough for the real Kinks fanatic, but plenty to fill what has been too long a void since we last saw them. At the same time a tear in many an eye hoping that this will NOT be our last look at the world's greatest Rock 'n' Roll band.
E-mail Dave Emlen