Review - Ray Davies, Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas

From: Chris Owens
Date: July 23, 2006

Ray Davies ended out the second leg of his North American tour with a tight, muscular and very entertaining set played for a packed house of enthused and dedicated followers at Austin's Paramount Theater. The one hour and fifty minute performance covered the gamut from the earliest Kinks hits to eight new tracks from Ray's fine solo effort, OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES, about which he told the crowd he was discovering most of the songs were really about him. Indeed, themes of trust,facing reality and seeking redemption permeate new numbers like "Creatures of Little Faith", "After the Fall" and "Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)" indicating that Ray is still tackling real-life issues in song (and rather effectively at that) at a time when many of his contemporaries are content to rest on the laurels of their past successes. (Although we'll see this fall whether or not Pete Townshend can breathe new life into new songs for the Who.)

Make no mistake about it, Ray is far from finished and there was no hint of nostalgia in the way he brought new vitality to Kinks Klassics like the opening "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" (which the youngsters in our group recognized from the IBM commercial!) and "Twentieth Century Man" which was sung with more conviction than I'd ever heard before. The band, including Mark Johns on intricate yet restrained lead guitar, were even tighter than at their Chicago show on leg one of the tour, and if you closed your eyes during "where Have All the Good Times Gone" and "All Day and All of the Night", you could almost believe you were experiencing the Kinks in Koncert once again. With the news of brother Dave's continued recovery and Ray stating they would try writing together again, hope for a Kinks reunion springs eternal. Meantime, this band is as close as we're likely to get and they are pretty damn good. On Monday they will be recording a taping of Austin City Limits, Mr. Dav! ies' first ever appearance on the long-running music show. If you missed Ray and band on either of their brief U.S tours this year, you owe it to yourself to tune in to ACL (probably in the next month or two?) to see what you've been missing. The set list as I remember it is as follows. I met long-time Kinks fanatic Frank Lima at the show, so I hope he will correct me if I messed up the order too badly or left something out. (Nice MISFITS T-shirt, Frank!)


I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
After the Fall
Run Away From Time
Next Door Neighbour
Creatures of Little Faith
Oklahoma U.S.A.
20th Century Man
The Tourist
Sunny Afternoon
Till the End of the Day
Over My Head
Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)
All Day and All of the Night


A Long Way From Home
The Getaway (Lonesome Train)
Celluloid Heroes
You Really Got Me


Low Budget

"Celluloid Heroes" has been added to the set list in recent shows and Ray performs it solo with acoustic guitar. It was the most poignant and beautiful reading I have ever heard him do, either with band or alone, and the lyrics really are appropriate these days when cult of celebrity is all the rage, especially on shows like American Idol. Too often it seems we're more interested in "Other People's Lives" (especially if they're rich and famous) than our own, but I think Ray got it right when he sang: "Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star/And everybody's in showbiz, it doesn't matter who you are/And those who are successful, be always on your guard/Success walks hand in hand with failure/Along the Hollywood Boulevard." Although a certified dreamer and would-be star (at least in my own mind) I obviously couldn't have put it any better. Here's hoping that Ray Davies' star shines on brightly for many many years to come!