Review - Ray Davies and his band, May 16, 2003, Royal Festival Hall, London

Date: May 19, 2003
From: Thorbjörn Pluten (from Finland)

"I have nothin' more to say". This (16th May) was the 6th time I saw The Kinks or Ray in my lifetime!

It was a nice concert, even though the lights were a bit dark at the stage. Why? I don't know. The concert (which if I was hoping for my wife's and especially for my elder daughter's sake - her first time watching Ray) was not the best I've seen. It wasn't bad either, but the dark lights did affect the wholeness of the concert.

The gig got much better towards the end, but perhaps the 7 songs from Village Green Preservation album did that in the middle of the concert many viewers were nearly "fallin' asleep". It might have been dull for people who hadn't heard these songs (good songs in their own way but perhaps not the best ones for a concert?) before. I would say to Ray: Focus more on the new songs, cos a few of them even surprised my elder daughter! But as she also told me the Village Green songs were a bit boring!

For people who love The Kinks/Ray it doesn't make any difference whether Ray is singing "Sittin' On My Sofa" the whole night (which in fact is a good song) or other not so famous songs from their career.

Anyway over 30 songs were played (of which 5 were new, 7 from Village, This is were I belong + No Return + the rest as you know!). Low budget was a surprise, and a good one, even Mick appearing to join A Well Respected Man was a treat, a nice one for all of us who are very sad that Dave is one of the reasons why Mick had to leave Kinks. I don't understand why Ray played the Well Respected Man twice? Maybe to tell the story of that "fuckin' fag"!

Royal Festival Hall was nearly sold out and I'd say there were just a few seats empty. Ray, I think, was touched when he said thank you all for coming this evening. The show started at 8.05pm and ended at 11pm (with a 20-min. break between 9.30-9.50).

My elder daughter Nina (age 25) has started (after seeing Ray for the first time live) to understand her dad much better. She liked Ray's humour (fags/fucks, Well Respected story and so on). I do think my wife (Lea), my daughter and a friend of hers (Kaisa, aged 26) liked the concert for real! Not only to say "Yeah, yeah it was good, now can we please go home!"

On our way back home from Stanstead / London on Sunday night the girls were asking to hear The Kinks (they know I always keep tapes of The Kinks in my car). They wanted to listen (twice!) songs like I'm not like everybody else, You really got me, To the Bone, Days and some songs from the Storyteller album.

I could have written more details of the show. It was a little bit of Storyteller too, with the good and famous "jokes"/true stories that all "my females" laughed at. Yes, Ray is a performer - a good one as my daughter said after the show. The young girls liked most when the band played their new songs. Ray could long last release Stand up Comic as a single, because with his acting when he performs the song, it would be a hit, it's really a good one.

Ray ended the evening with saying "....and I'm the big brother to Dave Davies....."

In spite of all Ray is splendid, his songs will sing inside my head for as long as I live and best of all I met my wife autumn 1968, the same year when "Days" was released. It has always been "our" song and now Ray finished with this song! What more can you expect?