Monday, July 29, 2013

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?: Despite Nice Renditions of Some Klassics, Dave Davies Shows He Could Use Ray's Help in Getting the Kinks Out -- Chicago Concert Review

Concert Review

Dave Davies
Taste of Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
July 27, 2013

With apologies to Geoff Edgers--producer and protagonist of the Do It Again documentary--and perhaps some members of the Kinda Kinks online community, I'm not convinced the world at large is clamoring for a Kinks reunion.

While I would most definitely be there, my assumption is that if the surviving Kinks brought a reunion tour through Chicago--even with a reunified Jam in tow--they'd be lucky to fill the 9,000-seat UIC Pavilion, where I first saw the band in 1983.

But even in delivering consistently stellar solo shows--to adoring if modest crowds--head Kink Ray Davies has espoused a desire to get his band back together. In 2010, bassist Pete Quaife became the Kinks' first founding member to pass away, making a full reunion impossible, but reunification in any configuration has seemingly been scuttled by Ray's brother and Kinks lead guitarist Dave refusing to have anything more to do with him.

Based on having seen Dave Davies leading a 4-piece band in Chicago on Saturday night at the Taste of Lincoln Avenue--not an unenjoyable show, just unpolished and imperfect--I would strongly suggest he and Ray bury the hatchet and tour once more as the Kinks, perhaps with original drummer Mick Avory and longtime bassist Jim Rodford (the latter two both being members of the Kast Off Kinks).

As I noted above, this wouldn't be for huge commercial purposes, though they could probably make a good bit more than each does on their own. And while sibling harmony would appear prudent as the Davies boys approach their 70s, I say this more so because they still seem to need each other musically.

First of all, they're playing many of the same songs.

Dave's setlist from Saturday isn't posted to, but it was similar to this recent show, with the addition of "She's Got Everything" and "Dead End Street."

So about half of Dave's set consisted of, albeit understandably, 8 of the same Kinks songs Ray recently played at a show in London's Hyde Park.

And while Ray isn't the guitarist that Dave is, Dave is neither the singer nor front man that his brother is.

This was apparent from song one at the Taste of Lincoln Avenue, "I'm Not Like Everybody Else," but became more pronounced later on in Dave's set.

Given my general aversion to standing-room-only events and Chicago's young-skewing Lincoln Park neighborhood, just my venturing out to see Dave Davies should denote not only an affinity for his Hall of Fame legacy, but a strong motivation for me to see him perform for the first time he had a stroke in 2004 (from which he had largely recovered by 2006, according to Wikipedia).

So I am far happier that he displayed no obvious ill effects than I am disappointed that his gig was somewhat middling.

And especially with just a $10 suggested donation to get in, I'm still glad I went. This is, after all, the man who changed rock 'n roll history with the "You Really Got Me" riff and solo, heard in the evening's final song.

Along with a good helping of Kinks klassics, Davies delivered solid renditions of a few songs from his just released new album--I Will Be Me--including "Little Green Amp," "The Healing Boy" and "Côte du Rhône (I Will Be Me)."

But he also spent a bit too much time mid-show on acoustic guitar playing ballads, likely to the boredom--and even dissipation--of those in the crowd that didn't come to the event specifically for him (and perhaps had no idea who he was).

Separately, "Death of a Clown," a song Dave originally co-wrote and sang, should have been a highlight, but after bringing a fan onstage to help him sing the first verse, the rendition became decidedly disjointed once the girl left Davies' side.

Dave also badly botched the first verse of "All Day and All of the Night"--a 1964 klassic he theoretically knows in his sleep--and for whatever reason, opened the encores with another full version of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." Though I love the song enough not to rue hearing it twice, I would have preferred a single offering of "Susannah's Still Alive."

Returning to the positive--per my ratings scale, @@@ = good but not great--Davies' song choices gladly reinstated a few forgotten Kinks tunes into my eroded memory, including "She's Got Everything," "Strangers" and "Young and Innocent Days." And his performance of "Living on a Thin Line," from 1984's Word of Mouth, was really good.

So with my friend Dave alongside and a fence to lean against, it was rather pleasant to see Dave Davies onstage once again, even if his show wasn't entirely stellar. But I can't help surmise that a Davies family reunion would be even better all the way around.

But as for if a Kinks reunion will ever actually happen, well, you really got me.

I shot a good bit of video at the show. Below are full versions of "Dead End Street" and "You Really Got Me" and partial versions of the less successful "Death of a Clown" and "All Day and All of the Night."


Anonymous said...

Im a lifelong kinks fan always been more a ray fan than a dave fan, but his new cd is very good - that said, he cant sing as good as ray and ray is having problems in that department as he gets older - I agree, they should get together, 2 is better than l - dave may not be able to sing anymore but he sure can write a GREAT song or songs, that will never leave him or ray...a kinks fan till the end of the days.

Anonymous said...

It was a pleasure to see Dave Davies on his recent tour. He was excellent.

Nearly all Kinks fans would like a Kinks reunion, but I, for one, yjimk recent statements from both Ray and Dave, that they would only reform if they were working on new material, makes sense. Dave is also right to ask for more involvement in whatever they do together.

Later this year expect a new book and a new album from Ray plus a US Tour. Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

God save the KINKS! I love Dave and can understand you concerns. I too was always a Ray fan but when I got to meet Dave it all turned around and I’ll take Dave anytime bumps, warts and mistakes included. He is a great person and the new album far exceeded my expectations, I really enjoy listening to it. I too would love to see a reunion but there are many year of damage there and I think we’ll be very lucky if it happens because the odds aren’t that great. So enjoy the brother whenever you get the chance. Bless you all and God Save the Kinks!!! JC