The Kinks in Germany (part 2)

The Seventies

by Hans-Georg Kwasniok and Stefan Gies

Preface: In Germany, having been at the top of the Hit Parade and filled up large concert halls in the 60s, the Kinks became a personal tip in the 70s. Nevertheless, the fans followed their actions further, even if it sometimes involved great difficulties. Hans-Georg Kwasniok and Stefan Gies had both become Kinks fans in the 60s, and both continued to follow the band in different ways into the 70s. So whilst Hans-Georg describes his five attempts in the 70s to see and hear the band, Stefan spent many happy hours in Hamburg attending the only German concert of 'Schoolboys in Disgrace' (this is the boxed text.)

Ray Davies in Offenbach 1978, photo: Hans-Georg Kwasniok The Seventies of the Twentieth Century!
Current musicology suggests that only punk rock relieved a miserable decade filled with Glam- and Bombast Rock, middling disco and soulless concept albums
... relieved of itself ...
Another version states that it was a time of complicated, artistic exploration in Rock music -- with variable excursions into (the self-named) musical avant-garde.

Nevertheless, there are not a few amongst the fans (and I belong to this group) who enthuse about the 70s as an era in which was the most productive and experimental for the Kinks. Their commercial downfall as an almost inexhaustible 'hit single machine' was definitely sealed with the release of 'Lola/Apeman' in 1970. And it is well known that this hitless run would last up until 'Come Dancing' (1983) -- when at last something suitable 'for the charts' put them again in the running.

The Kinks, meanwhile, signed with the big label RCA and produced their famous concept albums and disturbing operettas: 'Muswell Hillbillies,' 'Everybody's in Showbiz,' 'Preservation Act 1,' 'Preservation Act II,' 'Soap Opera,' and 'Schoolboys in Disgrace.'

For the breathless fans, these were exciting years full of media events -- each year brought a new album to buy. The records however, and their more or less glossy packaging, bore the message.
On the Continent, (The Kinks at that time were rather distant), there were still-fading memories of the short, not particularly remarkable live appearances of the band from the 60s, but they toured industriously in the first half of the 70s (except in England) -- but probably primarily in the United States!

1971 on 17th March, with great anticipation, was my first attempt to see the band on the town hall open stage . Finally I had the chance to see the group on the stage, which I had known naturally since 'You Really Got Me,' but I was also quite intimate with 'Tired of Waiting,' 'See My Friends,' 'I'm not like Everybody Else,' 'Dead End Street,' 'Waterloo Sunset,' and 'Big Sky'! And on the day before the concert, the cancellation was announced over the radio! Tickets were fairly easily refunded...sad, so very sad!

1972 a second attempt on 22nd May at the Open Air Festival in Germersheim. We were a small travelling group, from whom the magical, radiant of the festival ewithted (or 'something' ewithted from somewhere!), extremely bewitched and wound up, all was well with God and the world (Floyd, Frumpy, Family), beautiful people, as far as the eye could see. . .
I could see my heroes, for the first time, on the stage (with John Dalton on bass, John Gosling at the organ and piano) -- and was disappointed! The music magazine photos come suddenly alive behaved strangely, reserved on the stage, their singing barked, guitars whined, drummer banged.
Very little of this event has stayed in my memory, except for the singular feeling that the band was not open to the audience and this appearance was somehow a little uninspiring. The gig was so lifeless, and not at all 'professional' -- a little scratchy, a little 'Oh, Demon Alchohol!,' and I can remember that I realised the abyss, that can cruelly open between a perfectly dressed-to-the-nines studio recording, and one bare-naked live version.

handbill1974, the next attempt. At least I think it was 1974. I cannot find any reference to this event in Doug Hinman's book. The festival took place in the Ruhr area, somewhere in West Germany (Essen? Dortmund?!)
Seven bands got up and played one right after the other, starting with a nervous German band, completely unknown at that time, the Scorpions. Then Man from Wales. Then Procol Harum, whose appearance I enjoyed, as I yet recall. The KINKS were to have been the high point: Suddenly a handbill (see picture) was passed through the rows of spectators, that the appearance of the band had to be called off, because Dave Davies had fallen ill -- then later, Mick Avory actually stood for some time on the stage and apologised in his iniwithable way to the public -- very sad, very very sad!!

1976, in the early summer, I read in the German music magazine 'Sounds' about the Kinks' appearance in Hamburg: 'Schoolboys on Stage.' A unique appearance. Which I missed, because I received the magazine only sometime afterwards. Others had more luck. Stefan Gies experienced the concert, and the time before as such:

Kinks in Hamburg, photo: Stefan Gies

31 March 1976, Congress Centrum, Hamburg

Now, I've been a Kinks fan ever since I was 11 years old, and I had never even seen my 'heroes' live. I had missed the 60s concerts, and in the 70s, attended only that Hamburg concert in March 1976. Quite early on I had procured for myself the concert tickets (Row 8, Seat 5, 20 DM), and although it began only at 8pm, I had already driven in at 7am in my old Beetle from Cologne to Hamburg. I was of course well equipped only with the best -- full of anticipation, and with a camera and a 'Uher-Report' (a portable stereo tape recorder.)

Ray Davies in the hotel in Hamburg, photo: Stefan GiesAs I arrived in Hamburg, I heard on the car radio the familiar strains: 'Shangri-La' (I think so, anyhow), and afterwards an interview with Ray Davies. I went to the nearest taxi stand, and asked for the NDR Funkhaus. When I finally arrived there, the Kinks unfortunately had already left, but I got to know Christian Wagner, the director of the legendary “Rockpalast” TV shows. He was there likewise only to see the Kinks about engaging them to play there (in which he finally succeeded five years later). Turned out he was equally as great a Kinks fan, and he gave me the tip to try once again at the Hotel of the Congress Centrum, which is where the Kinks were stopping. So I drove to the aforementioned hotel, and sat myself in the lobby.

After about 20 minutes to catch my breath, I could not believe my eyes, and my hands grew wet, and I went all over with sweat. Mick Avory came down the stairs and went to the reception desk. A few minutes later, Dave and Ray Davies, John Dalton, and John Gosling followed. I thought, 'It's now or never!' and screwed up my courage, and went over to Mick Avory and Dave Davies. A friend of mine took photos, and let the tape recorder play along, whilst I with my schoolboy English gabbled nonsense. Mick Avory took his time to speak with me, and was very friendly (as were all the others.) When I invited Dave Davies to have a beer, he said that they unfortunately had to do the sound check, but if I wished, I could go along with them. It was bonkers; at one time I stood with the Kinks on the stage, took everything, and took photos, whilst they practiced and improvised their sound check. At that time there were eleven people on the stage; besides the five already mentioned, were Nick Newell, John Beecham, Alan Holmes, Pam Travis, Shirley Roden, and Debby Doss.

Ray Davies in Hamburg, photo: Stefan Gies After about two hours, the sound check was over, and I was the luckiest human being on earth, although the high point, which had not begun, was the concert itself. The concert was a show that succeeded all around -- they kicked off with a few classics and followed with the 'Schoolboys in Disgrace' show, but I knew my afternoon experience was not topped.

At that time, Ray Davies delivered already a nearly perfect stage show (beer bottle on his head during 'Alcohol'), and stepped in as the Headmaster already wearing the famous mask. Dave was in complete control of his guitar as always, and played fantastic solos. What was new for me, was that there were announcements in German by one of the girl singers to explain the story.

By the way -- the tape recording of the sound check, as well as my crude attempts at interview remain preserved for future generations.

Some comfort over the concert I missed came in the first rare bootleg that appeared: Kriminal Kinks (sounds like a small transitor radio at 30 metres' distance) with a roaring 'Little Queenie'! Then -- fab! -- 'Don't Touch that Dial' (this and a version of 'Rush Hour Blues' probably meant to be on the official release of 'Soap Opera'). Finally, 'Winterland 1 & 2,' with a version of 'Brother' with which the 'sisterly' brothers brought delight not only to the audience in San Francisco. This bootleg also illustrates how the Kinks sounded in the 70s.

1978, 23rd Ocotber -- once again an attempt at the Offenbach Stadthalle -- and this time, success! The band performed. Somehow the brothers Davies got along well on stage. Gordon Edwards, Jim Rodford, and Mick Avory made the entourage of the 'Misfits Tour' complete (John Beecham was also there with the occassional woodwinds.) A really cool concert! Strong, as well as witty. The time of concept albums was not yet past, at least not to see and hear it on the old Continent, and the show of ballads and hard rockers right on the mark!

Mick Avory in Offenbach, photo: Hans-Georg Kwasniok   Jim Rodford in Offenbach, photo: Hans-Georg Kwasniok   Dave Davies in Offenbach, photo: Hans-Georg Kwasniok

1979, 31st October, brought the Low Budget Tour; the Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle rocked! A self-confident band (Ian Gibbons at the keyboards) rocked '(Wish I could fly like) Superman,' so that one almost went without breathing. The Everly Brothers' classic 'Bird Dog' gave the older generation the biggest knees-up; the younger ones were fascinated by the fantastic entertainer Ray Davies. Dave Davies had developed quite a guitar-hero stance. A pro band what gave itself the honour -- 'You Really Got Me'!

Two other afterthoughts by Hans-Georg Kwasniok:

Thought One:
In the 70s, living in central West Germany, an average young Kinks fan (with an income rather below average), I got to see the band three terrific times in five attempts!
The 80s and then the 90s in comparison would give a better perspective, but that is another topic...

Thought Two:
I haven't classified these years as a 'live band'; I have ‘experienced’ albums. The KINKS made themselves into concept albums of the most original quality: Ray Davies seemed to have at least two dozen singing voices, which made it possible for him, incomprehensible to pull off so many musical roles, the arrangements of individual songs brought up fondest memories, self irony and cheeky borrowing: "Where have I heard this before?"
Then again, the wonderful guitar work of Dave Davies or the girl singers give it extra class!
That it happened sometimes in a somewhat dry-diadactic manner, which concerns textual arrangements -- equally as good! Preservation I & II in particular belong in the genre, and today are nearly forgotten high points of the rock music of the 70s!

The Kinks live in Germany 1970-1979

Source: Doug Hinman: All Day And All Of The Night
I don't belive in the "concert" (see part one) in the Star Club (according to Thorsten Schmidt, historian of the venue) so I don't count it (hb).
NoDateVenueCityTitle, Support etc.
4125-Jul-1970EiderlandhallePahlen/Heidedate or even show unclear/td>
426-Sep-1970Open AirBurg, Fehmarnwith Procul Harum, Incredible String Band, Cactus, Fat Mattress, Emerson Lake & Palmer
4320-May-1972Insel GrunGermersheim (Fiesenheim Peninsula)Second British Rock Meting (Whitsunitide) with Pink Flyd, The Faces, Humble Pie, Incredible String Band, Atomic Rooster, Buddy Miles Express, The Dorrs, Family, Osibisa, Curved Air, Linda Lewis, Tom Paxton und andere (drei Tage Festival)
4431-Mar-1976CCHHamburgSchoolbys In Disgrace Tour
4527-May-1977Cirkus Krone BauMunich
4616-Oct-1978DeutschlandhalleBerlinwith Cafe Jaques
4717-Oct-1978MusikhalleHamburgwith Cafe Jaques
4823-Oct-1978StadthalleOffenbachwith Cafe Jaques
4924-Oct-1978StadthalleErlangenwith Cafe Jaques
5025-Oct-1978Cirkus Krone BauMunichwith Cafe Jaques
5125-Oct-1979AudimaxHamburgwith Kanyon
5226-Oct-1979Westfalenhalle (2?)Dortmundwith Kanyon
5327-Oct-1979Neue WeltBerlinwith Kanyon
5429-Oct-1979StadthalleBremenwith Kanyon
5530-Oct-1979NiedersachsenhalleHannoverwith Kanyon
5631-Oct-1979JahrhunderthalleFrankfurtwith Kanyon
572-Nov-1979Cirkus Krone BauMunichwith Kanyon
583-Nov-1979SporthalleCrailsheimwith Kanyon
594-Nov-1979PhilipshalleDüsseldorfwith Kanyon
605-Nov-1979RosengartenMannheimwith Kanyon

Apppearance in German TV

Source: Doug Hinman: All Day And All Of the Night
No.TapingBroadcastTypeSong(s)NameStationLocation of Taping
108-Aug-19708-Aug-1970?Lola4-3-2-1 Hot'n'SweetZDFStuttgart, Killesberg
1112-Apr-197227-May-1972liveMuswell Hillbillies; first time broadcasted in 1981: You Really Got Me/All Day And All Of The Night, LolaBeat ClubARDBremen
1217-Nov-197817-Nov-1978playbackFather ChristmasPlattenkücheARDCologne

Setlist Kinks in Hamburg 1976

  1. Intro
  2. Everybody`s a Star
  3. Rush Hour Blues
  4. Lola
  5. Dedicated Follower of Fashion
  6. Waterloo Sunset
  7. You really got me/All Day and all of the Night
  8. Alcohol
  9. Celluloid Heroes
  10. Schooldays
  11. Schoolboys
  12. Announcement
  13. Jack the Idiot dunce
  14. Education
  15. First Time we fall in Love
  16. I'm in disgrace
  17. Headmaster
  18. First Time we fall in Love (reprise)
  19. Hard Way
  20. The last Assembly
  21. No more looking back
  22. Finale
  23. Money talks

edition and listings: Helge Buttkereit
translation: Carey Fleiner and Thomas Bartoldus