Review - Ray Solo, 12 October, 1995, The Fillmore, San Francisco, CAFrom: Lloyd Jansen: Kinks Fan
Date: Friday, October 13, 1995 12:00AM
After all the anticipation, disappointments, and expectations of the 7 years since I last saw the Kinks, Ray did not let me down. His concert ranks as one the best shows I have ever seen and eclipses many past Kinks performances.
He was absolutely spellbinding. The set was virtually identical to the Galaxy shows. The only exception is that we did not get "Stop Your Sobbing" but did get impromptu a capella snippets of "Harry Rag" and "Misfits" after called out request from the audience. Oh, I see "Village Green" is missing from the second Galaxy show. I thought it was a high point. But there were so many. "See My Friends", "Two Sisters", "VG", "20th Century Man" and most of the new songs were stand outs. I certainly hope this new solo album is the new songs he's doing on this tour. They are obviously very personal and show him in absolute top form. One interesting note: at the end of the trancendent performance of "Village Green" guitarist Peter made a fairly obvious flub. This earned him a icy glare from Ray. After Ray left the stage the crowd cheered and chanted for him for a good 5-10 minutes in hopes of at least a bow from Ray, even when the house lights came up and the crew started tearing down the equipment. To no avail. Ray did not come back out.
The crowd was VERY receptive. Virtually the whole place sang along to many of the songs and gave Ray several standing ovations. The Fillmore is a good place for shows. It is fairly large with a very high ceiling. Normally they leave the floor open and only have tables in the balcony and along the sides, but for this show they had tables everywhere. We got there about 1/2 hour before the doors opened and got an excellent table about three tables back from the stage and a little to the right of the stage. Ray was maybe 50 feet from us. The stage is very high and I had a perfect, unobstructed view of the stage. John Wesley Harding, who I've heard about for years, opened the show and was excellent! He even has a song called "Copenhagen" in which he recalls meeting Ray in an airport in Denmark. He said the only reason he got the gig was he wanted to see the show. He lives in S.F., though he is from England. The other people at our table were very nice and we swapped Kinks stories most of the night. It was a virtually perfect evening.
From: Ken Goldstein
Subject: Bill Graham Presents... Ray Davies!
Date: 14 Oct 1995 14:58:28 GMT
As previously stated, the Fillmore show was incredible. First of all, just being in that building is a magical experience - but this show was the ultimate orgasm for any Kinks fan.
Opening act was John Wesley Harding - if you're not familiar with JWH he could be described as kind of a British Bob Dylan, or a friendly Elvis Costello, or a not nearly so angry Billy Bragg. (Somewhere in there I think you get the idea).
Mid-way through JWH's set he did a song that starts with the line, "I met Ray Davies in a Danish airport, and he seemed like a very nice guy." A true story of Ray giving encouragement to a young fan, telling him, "Keep writing your songs, man." JWH played about half an hour.
Then came Ray... From previous reviews of other shows you already know the basic format: Ray tells his life story through readings from X-Ray, playing the early hits (sometimes pausing mid-song to explain some item of significance), and about 9 or 10 new songs that act as a soundtrack for the book.
Of the Kinks songs they were almost entirely from the Pye/Reprise period. The only exceptions were 20th Century Man, and Misfits. Misfits was not part of the show, but was shouted out by some of the audience and Ray got off the script for a minute to do the first verse & chorus accapella.
(this is off the subject of the show, but: listen to the lyrics of 20th C. Man and tell me, am I crazy, or could Ray be the Unabomber?)
Besides all the early hits we were treated to Two Sisters, Autumn Almanac, Days, Village Green, and many more, including my favorite surprise: I Go To Sleep - this is one of my all time favorite songs, and one I never expected to hear live.
The new songs are all excellent, although some might not stand so well apart from the context of the show. The ones that did stand out as possible future Kinks album cuts included Truly Animal and To The Bone.
The only non-RDD song was a very comical, jazzy, and sexy rendition of Billy Eckstein's "That Old Black Magic."
Ray's voice never sounded better, and he never looked as happy and healthy. He seemed truly pleased to be in SF, and to have such an appreciative audience. He played for about two and a quarter hours accompanied by an excellent guitarist named Peter (didn't catch his last name, sorry).
If the solo tour comes your way, don't miss it.
(p.s. for those of you saying, "Hey, I thought Bill Graham was dead?" - yes, he did die a couple of years ago, but his son (David?) and his associates keep the company going in his memory - they own several concert venues around Northern California, including the Fillmore)
E-mail Dave Emlen