It has been less than two years since Ray Davies brought his full orchestra to the Town Hall on West 44th Street, but where better than the aural wonderland that is the Beacon Theatre to see the legendary leader of The Kinks? His solo show arrived at the Beacon on Sunday, November 20th, and featured an eclectic range of music from an unplugged two man acoustic performance at the beginning to his full band and the accompanying Dessoff Choir during the second half of the show. All improved in the renovated room.
The show started off with Ray Davies performing with only another guitarist for the first five songs, opening with, "I Need You" and "I'm Not Like Anybody Else", and continuing with my favourite, "Sunny Afternoon" before concluding the mini set wth "Waterloo Sunset" and "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion".The rest of the band joined him for "Apeman". Then Ray sang accapella an English ditty,"Harry Rag" (slang for cigarette or fag), followed by "A Long Way from Home" , which he dedicated to his brother, Dave Davies.
Dave Davie's has been at war with Ray for years, disparaging him in the English tabliods, and Ray has remained silent. But tonight Ray had his say, advising us to read page 169 of his book X-Ray to see a glimpse into Dave’s life, and then said, "when he was young he was beautiful, but now he is misguided." Why must brothers fall out? Ironically, Noel Gallagher of Oasis played only a week early. Finishing their first act with "Victoria", "20th Century Man" and "Nothing In The World Can Stop Me Worrying About That Girl" -which he wrote at the age of 17 for his first love. Then a full throttle "All Day And All Of The Night" before a 20 minute intermission
Following the break, the 60 person choir appeared in their full regalia, a very impressive sight. They led iwith "Shangri-La", "Victoria", "See My Friends", aptly enough "Thanksgiving Day". "Village Green". "Picture Book", "Big Sky", "Do You Remember Walter?" "Johnny Thunder" and "The Village Green Preservation Society" – "my biggest flop", he said, apparently forgetting "Think Visual".
While I have not heard of the majority of these songs, he pulled it off magnificently with the help of his backing choir and first rate musicians. The second half of his performance took on the quality of a Broadway production and had a uniquely original characteristic to it. He finished up with some Kink classics, "Celluloid Heroes" , "Postcards From London" (which he wrote for his sister living in Australia). Then he pefrormed "Waterloo Sunset" again and finished the set with "You really Gor me".
Oddly he performed several songs more than once, which he pulled off in the beginning, but pushed his luck doing it for the encore,"All Day And All Of The Night", which may have annoyed many of the more fair-weather fans. They turned the lights on and many people started exiting the theatre, but his true fans refused to leave and shouted for an encore and screamed "Lola" for at least five minutes, Ray must have heard this adulation and had a change of heart and came out in his bare-feet to sing three glorious encores, I’m sure to the chagrin of those wholeft the theatre, "Low Budget", "Got To Be Free" and finally the Kinks Anthem,"Lola" which brought down the house. This two and half hour performance was unique and very memorable for all.