Review - Ray Solo, 9 August, 1995, Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton

Subject: Ray at Wolverhampton
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 12:50:48 +0100 (BST)
From: Jonny M

A quick review of Ray Davies' appearance last Wednesday at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton.

The hall was packed to capacity; something like 800 people. Katie (my chum) and I managed to get seats at the centre of the second row. The support act, I forget her name, was pretty uninispired, and didn't really create much of a build up for Ray.

Ray strode casually onto the stage, looking relaxed and cheerful, and began a two-hour set, consisting mainly of stripped down versions of Kink hits (accompanied by one other guitarist), a few obscure Kink numbers plus some lovely renditions of Ray's favourite tunes when he was a boy. There were also about a dozen songs played with which I was unfamiliar (I only know the stuff up to '71) - most of these, such as one about the alleyways of London town, seemed to be written especially for the show. Everything was played in a rather subdued, bluesy style - making some songs, such as 'See My Friends' (which normally gets on my nerves), rather more enjoyable.

In between numbers Ray gave very brief readings from his book X-Ray (well, apart from the introduction, he didn't need to refer to the book), regaling us with some rather amusing anecdotes; particularly how the 'Well Respected Man' line 'And he likes his fags the best' gave the Kinks an unusual reputation in America, and how the Kinks once upstaged the Beatles.

For the final encore Ray performed a livelier rendition of 'You Really Got Me' - naturally we had to run to the front of the stage for this part. We got to shake Ray's hand, and got his attention as we shouted out a request for 'Picture Book' - our favourite song. Ray did a sort of shrugging dance to say sorry but no. Ah well, you win some...

Overall, a very good gig, informal and intimate. Not as wonderful as seeing the actual Kinks live in concert, but extremely enjoyable nonetheless. And afterwards we got to say 'hi' to Ray, he gave my girlfriend a kiss (!) and signed our ticket + my copies of Something Else, Village Green and Arthur. He seemed genuinely pleased by the extremely warm reception he received.

The songs he played that I knew the names of were, in no particular order:

   Victoria                 Set Me Free
   Autumn Almanac           X-Ray
   See My Friends           To The Bone
   I Go To Sleep            Lola
   You Really Got Me        The Money Go Round
   Two Sisters              Sunny Afternoon
   Waterloo Sunset          Days
   Well Respected Man       Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
   Dead End Street

...Jonny M
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