Ian Brodie
Ray Davies

Saturday, July 14

The Neptune

A seemingly endless line starting in front of the Neptune wrapped around the entire block on


Ray Davies Charms a Sold Out Audience of Kinks Fans Saturday Night at the Neptune

Ian Brodie
Ray Davies

Saturday, July 14

The Neptune

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.

  • Midway through "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" (which he called "an English folk song"), Davies announced, "I'm going to do the second half as Johnny Cash," and then commenced in a deep bass-baritone that was a dead ringer for the Man in Black.
  • "This week is the hundredth anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birthday," Davies said, "so I'm going to do a Kinks song." He laughed and launched into a singalong of "This Land Is Your Land."
  • "Now I'm sitting here/Sipping at my ice cold beer" Davies sang on "Sunny Afternoon," "Where is that beer?" he asked, stopping the song. His guitar tech brought him a bottle of beer, Davies took a sip, and began his rousing next song--"Alcohol."
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  • "This next song is in the tradition of... It's not in the tradition of anything, so why should I try to explain it?" Davies asked before playing the evening's loveliest song, "Waterloo Sunset." Forty-five years after he wrote the song, he still performs it with all the loving sentiment that inspired it.
  • Davies told the story of how he wrote "Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl" when he was 15 years old and his first girlfriend left him for his best friend. "You know she broke my heart," he said after finishing the song, "but after all this time I cannot even remember her name."
  • "Long ago, life was clean/Sex was bad and obscene/And the rich were so mean/Stately homes for the lords/Croquet lawns, village greens." Davies paused after singing the first lines of "Victoria." "Nothing's changed, has it?"

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

Sunny Afternoon


Waterloo Sunset

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

Celluloid Heroes

Come Dancing

You Really Got Me

All Day and All of the Night


Low Budget

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