Review - Ray Davies, Moore Theatre, Seattle, Washington

From: Thom Gunn
Date: July 11, 2006

You know, it's just good to see Ray alive and rocking -- well worth a ticket at $32 to members of his first fan club here, who can still remember him having to 2nd bill a "Love Needs Care" VD concert put on in the Seattle Arena about 36 years ago.

In between, the high points, and I mean, "as good as it's ever going to get" were "Schoolboys in Disgrace" the best rock show we have ever seen, at the Paramount, delivered with saucy chics wagging switches, his "evil" mask and a horn section, and then Storyteller's five day (or was it six?) at the Moore in the late 90's.

When education leads to nuclear annihilation in Schoolboys, the Paramount was lit up like an atomic explosion and the place was only one quarter filled, but everyone of us was in a state of musical incineration.

Cut to storyteller, every night the story changed a little and with different accents on the material, the laughs moved around, too. He was trying things out and it was always fabulous. The old Moore Vaudeville house is his natural venue, which fits Ray like a comfortable old sweater.

This, was an idea that became apparent instantly last night as he first stood before us, 36 years after we'd viewed him as a semi-beautiful physical specimen. Thick long hair, a profile like that actor who played Sherlock -- Basil Rathbone and an ability to switch from matinee idol to wicked with a flick of the face.

Last night, so many stories in between, Ray stood before us with a bad back. Serves him right for trying too hard in Mormon land -- when you're 62 it's probably prudent to do less Iggy Pop and more Perry Como.

From the balcony last night -- not the best seats -- although some claim they are, the spotlight illuminated a hair line going back and hair up on the sides like an old Plymouth.

No problem -- his voice could still come out on many songs like English syrup and then whip around a witty syllable to drive home some dandy idea.

The problem was the sound system. Maybe because of his bad back or the new group or Moore management, it was constantly screeching and echoing so the little cuts and jokes and dashes that make Ray special were smothered in a blanket of distortion.

He's still alive, trying real hard, and wearing bright white tennis shoes, like bow ties on his feet, so that's worth a $100.

Another problem nowadays is that the word has filtered down to a lot of, shall we say, emotionally challenged that Ray is special.

Are they buying Ray's Schtick and saying to themselves: "He's mental; I'm mental -- we should be together."

The balcony and main floor had many representatives of this genre, that could be described as fat loud louts -- who constantly jumped up and waved V signs, while howling like wolves.

Reminded me of one of his new songs.

I got up and went downstairs to avoid one and sat up front on the wing, wondering why so many seats were free in the section -- because it offered the chance to see Ray up close and sweating.

The way Ray's forhead, nose and chin seem to angle down in a slant I find endrearing like a Barrymore profile.

Alas, the 300 pounder two seats away, was jumping up and down, twisting and carrying on as if he were having sex with himself.

I wondered if he was on angel dust? how many cops it would take to subdue him? or if he didn't understand foreplay?

Finally, braving annihilation I leaned over and tapped his beefy shoulder and said softly: "Be careful you don't scare Ray -- He's very shy."

The man blinked and then resumed as before to the cringement of all around him. Would somebody tell the ushers to do their job?

We use to have a better class of fan at Kink Concerts -- if they were part of that so small club, they got Ray for the right reasons.

Oh well, Ray deserves all the money he can get.

I hope he makes the trek to Seattle again, once more to the Moore, and that the sound is carefully perfected as it was during Story Teller when every line and chord was crisp and exact.

Last night Ray talked affectionately about Dave -- now that his bro is gone and down, he seemed to miss him. As we did. There's something about longevity that's reassuring -- that's part of why Queen Victoria was so beloved.

We would love to see Ray and Dave and Mick and the rest of boys all together once again. The new guys are fine, but they can never be the Kinks.

And if they could bring back those chics with the switches...why, it would be heaven.

Please take care of yourself, Ray, because as long as you can put on a great show, there will always be an England.