Review - Ray Davies, Comerica Taste Fest, Detroit, Michigan

From: Bradley Self
Date: July 2, 2006

I do not have a set list and do not trust my memory to effectively complete one.

The show started promptly at the scheduled start time of 8:30 and ended approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes later.

Ray and the band bounced on stage and opened with Low Budget. It was an appropriate opening tune for the energy and intensity that was to follow. The stage was blocked from the audience by too much gap to allow for the usual interaction but Ray did reach the mic out and encourage us to belt out "low budget" in the typical question and answer format.

Next tune was "I'm not like everybody else." This was easily the most intense version of this tune I'd ever heard. It will never cease to make me laugh seeing a throng of people sing that chorus.

The crowd was absolutely unbelievable. The WHOLE stadium was stand up for the entire concert. The band was intense and the crowd responded in kind. Maybe it was the fact it was a free, outdoor venue and a few folk flocked to the stage with no place to sit. I had staked out a front row center seat and needed to fend off a second tier in front of me. It was a time warp. We were older and fatter but for this one night managed to recapture the enthusiasim of youth.

Ray wouldn't let us rest much. He mixed in the newer material with a masterful stroke; a song here, two there. I really like his new album and the songs fit right in with the Kinks material.

Ray's voice was fantastic. I've heard it strained and I've heard it on. On this night it was ON. His rendering of 20th Century Man was a perfect example. Alternating between belting out intense parts and sweetly singing the quiet sections. WOW!

The sing along tunes; "Sunny Afternoon." "Well Respected Man," "Tired of Waiting," and "Lola" among others were soooo much fun. The crowed was into it big time. Ray made us work with some of his Cab Calloway scatting. We initially failed miserably.

Paper plates were thrown but not used by Ray. The time constraints seemed to be on his mind at that point.

Mr. Jones (no relation to the Bob Dylan creation) did a fantastic job. He wasn't as sloppy as Dave (meant as both a compliment and a criticism) and could really play. As "20th Century Man" got near the close he pulled out his slide and just NAILED that descending little fill. I was watching Ray so it came out of nowhere for me but hot damn was that cool. He was his own player but also "played" Dave at times very well. "All Day and All of the Night" was dedicated to Dave's sound it and it was right on.

Ray dedicated "A long way from home" to Dave and sung it beautifully.

In summation, this was easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. The interaction between Ray and the crowd was absolutely intense. Ray's energy level was off the charts, especially considering he is 62. The material was great and had a superb flow. The band was tight and obviously all are accomplished musicians. Ray's showmanship is second to none. He was in complete control and played the crowd like he does his Ovations. I missed Dave at points but Ray didn't let that linger, HE WAS JUST TOO GOOD.