Review - 1 August, 1995, Westbury Music Fair, Long Island, NY

Date: Wed, 02 Aug 1995 10:57:57 EDT
Subject: Westbury

All: Saw the Kinks on their final night of the tour at Westbury. It was the second show in 2 nights there (1st sold out; last night 90%). Great show again; very tight. I listed 24 songs (am I right Yoshi?). Nice additions were Muswell Hillbillies, 20th Century Man, Skin and Bones (snip), Days was put back in, and he opened acoustic with Autumn Almanac! Dave also did a super rave of 'Good Golly Miss Molly".

I had a nice chat with Bob Henrit before the show, and a little later with Rodford and Gibbons. Lovely guys. They've all enjoyed this tour immensely despite some of the sweaty gigs. Bob is now workin on a new book. A tell-all? No, a drummer's manual. He seemed uncertain about future tours, releases.

Anyway, the show was great and many people came away with the attitude: "Man, they can STILL rock!"

Bud, many plates were tossed last night, he read a few, but just joked about some of them. I understand the traditioon was started by a mega-fan whose name is Frank. He was there last night and Ray even mentioned him during the show. He wears a "KINKS" personalized NYS license plate around his neck. Whatever!


Come Dancing with The Kinks at Westbury
By Anthony Bosco

One of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands in history will perform two shows at Westbury Music Fair on July 31 and Aug. 1. The Kinks, led by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, began their musical journey more than 30 years ago and have proved to be "One of the Survivors."

If you're saying "The Kinks?" right now, you have reason. The group's last four domestic releases, Phobia, UK Jive, The Road and Think Visual, hardly enhanced their reputation as an audience favorite, all failing to break the top-40 in the United States and none of which produced a hit single.

The Kinks return to the New York area for the first time in two years without an album to plug - unless you include the band's acoustic live album To The Bone, which was released only in Europe. Nevertheless, the quintessentially English group sold out its first show and then quickly added another for the following day.

Predictable. Kinks fans over the years have distinguished themselves as among the most fanatic in rock, rivaling only the Grateful Dead's fans in their loyalty. Whether the Kinks are selling records or not, the core group of fans has remained faithful.

In the midst of the British Invasion, spearheaded by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five and Herman's Hermits, the Kinks emerged and immediately stood apart. Dressed like characters out of a Dickens' novel, the four from Muswell Hill distinguished themselves as the hardest of the new breed.

With the release of "You Really Got Me" and the subsequent "All Day and All of the Night" and "Tired of Waiting," the band, led by the Davies brothers, brought the table a new sound - distortion. The then-17-year-old guitarist Dave, slashed his amplifier with a razor blade and then stuck his sister's knitting needles into it, a landmark in rock history.

The result was a "fuzz" sound that spawned a whole new generation of rock. The Beatles, with "Revolution," and the Stones, with "Satisfaction," jumped on the bandwagon the following year - Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath coming later- as the Kinks were taking a more introspective turn.

Ray Davies established himself as one of the most prolific and talented songwriters of his era, penning such classics as "A Well Respected Man," "Sunny Afternoon" and "Waterloo Sunset." But as the Kinks' stature and respectability grew, music sales began to gradually decline.

Though the band was charting well into 1967, album sales began to plummet with the albums Something Else by The Kinks, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society and the band's first rock opera, released one week prior to the Who's Tommy, Arthur or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire.

Some of the band's most loved and critically acclaimed songs appear on these three albums, such as "Big Sky," "Shangri-La," and "Days." Nevertheless, the Kinks were becoming un-hip for the first time in their careers.

The band received its first of many second winds in 1970 with the breathtakingly brilliant "Lola," a song of sexual ambiguity in a night club. In the following two years Ray Davies wrote such classics as "Apeman," "Celluloid Heroes" and a consummate crowd favorite "Alcohol."

A series of concept albums and rock theater shows followed - including Preservation Act One and Two, Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace. The Kinks started their climb back to the top again in 1977 with the release of Sleepwalker, which moved into the top-30. The follow-up, Misfits, produced the top-40 single "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" and before the 1970s were done, the Kinks were back.

The 1979 release, Low Budget, re-established the band's mass appeal, especially in the United States. The Kinks played their first show in Madison Square Garden in 1981, supporting their hugely successful album, Give the People What They Want, which featured "Destroyer" and "Better Things."

The band's popularity crested in 1983 with the release of State of Confusion and the classic single "Come Dancing," which put the band in the top-10 for the first time since 1970.

In 1984 the Kinks released Word of Mouth, the last original album to have any kind of chart success. A compilation called Come Dancing with the Kinks also fared well in 1986.

In switching record labels from Arista to MCA, the Kinks underwent a musical change as well. The first album for MCA, Think Visual, died. Though appealing at points, the album as whole was not commercially viable.

A feud between Ray Davies and MCA seemed to almost push the introverted singer-songwriter to the brink of retirement with the band's 1989 album The Road, perhaps the band's most forgettable live album - of which they have five, including To The Bone.

UK Jive, the band's 1991 album, flopped in the States. But another record label change to Columbia produced an excellent EP called Did Ya and the 1993 release Phobia, both of which saw the Kinks in much better form. The band's 1993 show at the Academy in Manhattan was also one of the band's most memorable of the last decade.

And so the Kinks return to New York for two shows at Westbury, two nights in a career of more than 30 years that has spanned four decades. With more classic albums than some bands have songs, the Kinks continue to do what they do best - making great music.

Tickets are $25 each and are available at Westbury Music Fair box office and all Ticketmaster ticket centers. For information, or to charge tickets on VISA, MC or AMEX, please call (516) 334-0800.

The Kinks Return--All Day and All of The Night
Thousands Rock at Music Fair

By Anthony Bosco

An eclectic group of more than 2,000 came out Monday night to see the Kinks perform the first of two shows at the Westbury Music fair. The band added another performance following a quick sellout of their opening night in the metropolitan area.

The band, led by brother Ray and Dave Davies in full force, reunited with former keyboardist Ian Gibbons for a quick tour of the eastern United States that stopped at Long Island this week. It was the first time in two years that the band from England has visited the New York City area.

"The Kinks have just arrived," said band leader and songwriter Ray, 51, after playing several solo acoustic numbers to kick off the show. "A Well Respected Man," "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," and "Stop Your Sobbing" were among the acoustic tunes Davies played before the other four band members joined him on stage. The house lights dimmed and the Kinks ripped through a raucous version of "Do It Again" from the band's 1984 album Word of Mouth.

Several hard rocking Kinks singles followed, including "Low Budget," "A Gallon of Gas" and "Sleepwalker." But this was not a night of hard rock. At their most poignant, the Kinks easily slipped in and out of some of their most touching tunes.

Reading an impromptu set list from paper plates that littered the stage, Davies led the Kinks in moving versions of "Dead End Street," "Rock-N-Roll Fantasy" and "Waterloo Sunset."

With fans ranging in age from pre-teen to post-middle age, Davies and his cohorts reached all with their trademark hits, including "Come Dancing," "You Really Got Me," "All Day and All of the Night" and "Lola."

Dressed in a Union Jack suit, Davies said, "Who knows, this might be the last time?" before leading the band in the English anthem "Victoria." The set was short, lasting no more than an hour and 45 minutes, but the Kinks, as always, didn't let their core group of fans down, nearly spanning a career of more than 30 years in just one night.

The Kinks, formed in 1964 by the brothers Davies, were part of the first British invasion of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Dave Clark Five. A series of commercial failures and disappointing record sales has not forced the band into retirement but into another phase of its musical history.

A new acoustic CD called To the Bone has already been released in Europe and is slated for release here in the states in December or January. Davies has also recently released his first book, an autobiographical yarn called X-Ray, available in Europe and slated to be released on this side of the Atlantic in the fall.

The Kinks are scheduled to be back in New York City next month for a one-night show in Manhattan.
E-mail Dave Emlen