Review - Ray Davies, August 24, 2000, Jane Street Theatre, New York City

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 17:48:52 -0400
From: Matt Cutugno

Ray Davies (and Friends) gave an absolutely great show at the Jane Street Theater on Thursday night, August 24th. The theater itself is the renovated former ball room of the Riverview Hotel, built in 1907. The theater is small, has an intimate feel, and probably fit some 300 lucky people that night.

Ray came out to start the show, accompanied by Pete Mathison, who appeared with him on his Storyteller shows (and album). Ray looked relaxed and he and Pete played several new tunes, that were quite good. When someone in the audience yelled "bravo" after a song, Ray asked if they had called out "bravo" or "homo?" He said he's heard both in his career, and he laughed.

Soon Ray and Pete were joined by a drummer (female), a bass player, and another guitar player. They played two songs from Something Else ? "No Return," and "Two Sisters." Ray mentioned how the later was really about him and his brother, Dave, and how Ray was the older sister who was jealous at the younger sister's freedom.

They played a new song called "Vietnam Cowboy," that was a striking, rocking tune. Ray was standing down center stage, and talked to the audience between songs, like in his Storyteller tour. Pete stood upstage, in the background. He has a stoic demeanor, but did smile at Ray's kidding, and he's a great player.

There was a second and then third set of drummers and bass players, depending on songs played. I noticed how all the musicians seemed to really enjoy being there. Ray and friends delighted the crowd with songs like I?m Not Like Everybody Else, and This is Where I Belong; Where Have All the Good Times Gone, and All Day and All of the Night. He also sang "I Fall Asleep," what a pretty song.

He spoke of the Kinks' ban from playing in America. The way he told it, the Kinks had been suspicious of managers, agents and the like asking them to sign things, and one day, early on their first American tour, a union official came backstage and told them to sign a piece of paper. They refused and he insisted. Finally Dave Davies said "Why don't you take that piece of paper and shove it up your ass?" With that, the union official marched off, telling them they would pay for what they said. And, according to Ray, that's what led to their famous ban.

The crowd was very satisfied with the whole evening; the audience was comprised of a good mix of middle-aged fans from the Kinks early days, to younger fans from the 80s revival of Kinks music, to very young kids who came with their parents.

For an encore, Ray and Friends did "I Need You," which comes across as if it was written yesterday, it's that relevant. All in all, a fantastic night, I really enjoyed it.

Matt Cutugno