Review - Ray Davies, May 25, 2000, Belfast, N.Ireland

Date: May 25, 2000 10:24 PM
From: Avalard

Just before 8pm, the lights dimmed and Ray sauntered out onto the stage, already set up with a handful of guitars, and placed his strange bag on the desk, and got ready to play.

Coming to see him play live is something of a dream come true. As my girlfriend pointed out, there were only a handful of us in the audience who were under 40, but we had the added bonus of the best, front-row seats in the house. For those not familiar with the format of the show (as I wasn't), Ray is the self-styled "Storyteller", relating sections from his autobiography "X-Ray" interspersed with classic Kinks tracks and some new material. A true accoustic set, he is accompanied by one other player, whose name in the few hours since I was in the auditoriumm, now eludes me, on lead guitar.

The scene opens a hundred years ago, and goes through Ray's early life, the arrival of Dave and to the eventual formation of the Kinks and the ground-breaking recording of "You Really Got Me".

Its an enthralling two-hour marathon that takes us through happy times and sad, funny and serious. Ray's magical presentation, his sensously deep voice, his mimicry of the strange characters which influence his songs, and indeed his whole persona, made it an unforgettable night.

He did everything right, bringing us along with him. His interaction with the audience, and his familiarity with the local area warmed him to an enchanted arena.

His storytelling is something quite bizarre, and I will never be able to listen to That Old Black Magic song again without breaking into laughter. His encouragment to sing along was well appreciated, especially seeing as how I for one am no vocalist, even if we did sound "like a bunch of drunk rugby players".

What am I trying to say, well, I was enchanted, and enthralled. Well worth a visit whenever he plays, and a rousing performance guarenteed.

Robert JE Simpson
Belfast, N.Ireland