Saturday, July 14
A seemingly endless line starting in front of the Neptune wrapped around the entire block on>"/>
A seemingly endless line starting in front of the Neptune wrapped around the entire block on Saturday night, all fans waiting to see the Kinks frontman Ray Davies. Most looked like they were around the age that could have seen the actual Kinks in concert. Aging rock fans are still fans, though--this crowd was whipped into a high-energy frenzy for the legendary Davies. One rambunctious bald man on the balcony was so eager for Davies to come on stage that he stood up and led the crowd into a chant of "Ray! Ray! Ray!" And Davies, who is now 68 years old and celebrating his band's fiftieth anniversary, matched the audience's energy; he appeared on stage in a silver blazer and skinny pants (he would change outfits three times throughout the show) acting like a spry and happy young thing (during one song he pulled his shirt up and wiggled his behind at the audience).
Davies spent the first half of the show seated on a stool playing acoustic guitar accompanied by the Irish guitarist Bill Shanley; during the second half he switched to electric and was backed by the same band that opened for him, L.A.'s The 88. Davies prefaced the concert by saying, "There are some great songs, and there are some terrible songs, but they're all going to sound great tonight!" He was wrong--there were no terrible songs, and he injected a bit of smarmy humor and personal anecdotes into each one, making them more memorable than they already were.
That's exactly the beauty of the songs Davies wrote with the Kinks--they don't get outdated. The Kinks were always the workingman's band. Their best songs weren't about cheap glamour or thrills that only a rock star could know about. They were about common, everyday disappointment, disillusionment, and fighting frustrations. They were written and performed with a wry sense of humor, which made them appealing, but they always spoke a hard and fast truth, which made them lasting. Davies might have been painting a portrait of his time, but he always probably knew that in a modern society, some things never will change. Take "20th Century Man"--when Davies sang about mechanical nightmares and trigger happy policemen and loss of privacy and liberty in that song, it all still applies--heavily--today, even though we're now in a different century. Davies might have had great foresight in writing those songs. He most certainly had a rare empathetic soul. "I'll always love you," he said to the crowd on Saturday before leaving the stage, "and everything will be OK, I swear."
I Need You
This Is Where I Belong
Dedicated Follower of Fashion
In A Moment
Dead End Street
Till the End of the Day
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
20th Century Man
You Really Got Me
All Day and All of the Night