Review - Ray Davies, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland

From: Ray Lancashire
Date: May 13, 2007

Ray Davies and his Band

The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
6 May 2007

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and a community known for its strong Protestant and Catholic heritage which has had the lasting effect of making Sunday the quietest day of the week.

But this all changed on May 6 when the second official stop on Ray Davies' latest tour of the U.K. chugged into Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, a truly ideal location for R.D. to cast his spell on a willing audience.

Viewed from the balcony of the hall, those seated in the packed rows below reflected the overhead lights by an increasing number of balding heads. But they were also indicative of the age group who continue to flock to hear Britain's greatest living songwriter reprise a selection from his classic catalogue of hits, and listen respectfully as Ray treated them to several songs from his current Other Peoples' Lives album.

The quietness of a Sunday in Glasgow was broken from the moment the opening strains of I'm Not Like Everybody Else launched an evening of energy, characterized by wonderful acoustics in a hall built to handle the requirements of a full rock concert.

As always, R.D. seems to draw energy from his audience, pushing himself and the band to give the people what they want - and for this Glasgow audience, they wanted as many of the Kinks hits as possible, and took advantage of several invitations from Ray to join in and "sing along if you know the words."

Of those numbers from his current album, Next Door Neighbours seems destined to be remembered and join the ever growing catalogue of brilliant lyrics from the pen of one of London's favourite sons. (Catching several of the audience humming or singing snatches of this song during the intermission confirms this suspicion).

Two welcome additions to the set list of his last North American tour (at least the Toronto concert I attended) were Come Dancing and a version of Celluloid Heroes that echoed the pace and timing of the original. In fact, another stand out of the evening was the pacing of every song. Ray seems to have given up on his propensity to speed up the original tempo of many of the numbers. How many of us have sat through a Kinks concert or one of Ray's solo tours perplexed as he or the group seemed to rush through many of the classics?

But not this night - Well Respected Man, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Village Green were all played with original tempo, much to the delight of this writer.

My own favourites from the show were 20th Century Man (truly brilliant), Long Way Home, Where Have All the Good Times Gone and Tired of Waiting for You.

While Ray continues to confound us all with his energy and boundless creative brilliance in his staging and showmanship, the classic You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night miss the sheer raw energy and lead guitar sound of brother Dave Davies. They just don't sound the same with his new guitarist Milton McDonald...

Plea to Ray - please get the treble back in the lead guitar or invite Dave to join the rest of the tour!!!

And how could Lola ever sound right without the shrillness of Dave's falsetto harmony?

But for everything else, it was an evening that Glasgow fans will long remember, particularly when he took a third encore to play Waterloo Sunset - one of the great sing along hits of all time.

Review by Ray Lancashire of Toronto, Canada, who flew over to see the Glasgow and Edinburgh concerts.

Ray Lancashire