Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

Ray Davies at the Riviera, 3/13/2010

Posted in Music by bourdaghs on the March 14th, 2010

It was a terrific show last night, powerful enough to sweep away any lingering mental and spiritual cobwebs. It was, in short, just what I needed. After a spirited opening set by LA band The 88, Ray took the stage with his accompanist, Bill Shanley, and opened with the wistful “This is Where I Belong.” He followed up immediately with the acoustic blues version of “You Really Got Me” that he developed for The Storyteller show, the number morphing halfway through into “I Need You,” and we were off and running. He asked the audience how they were feeling and then added, “Do you want to know how I’m feeling?,” whereupon he burst into song: “Well, baby, I feel good” (“‘Till The End of the Day”).

He played tunes from all stages of his career, including early (“Too Much on My Mind,” “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy,” “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “See My Friends,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” “Tired of Waiting”), mid (“Two Sisters,” “Victoria,” “Apeman,” “Twentieth Century Man”), late (“The Hard Way”) and solo (“In A Moment,” “The Tourist”). Highlights included two songs I’d never heard live before, “Nothin’ in This World (Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl)” and “Postcard from London.” The latter, released just a few months ago as a duet with Chrissie Hynde, worked remarkably well in the stripped down version Ray performed. We were also treated to Ray singing a verse of “A Well Respected Man” in his best Johnny Cash voice, as well as his imitations of David Letterman (so-so) and Paul Schaffer (pretty good), and a touch of an Irish folksong in honor of St. Patrick’s Day–Shanley played brilliantly on this and everything else through the evening. A high energy version of “All Day and All of the Night” closed the acoustic portion of the show.

Ray was in fine voice and seemed in good spirits throughout. For this Kinks’ fan, it’s been gratifying these past few years to see him relax and simply enjoy the respect and adulation he’s earned. The 88 returned to the stage to back Ray for a powerful final set that lit the joint on fire: “You Really Got Me” (reprised with heavy guitars and drums), “David Watts,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “Dead End Street,” “Low Budget,” and finally “Lola.” After playing most of the show from a sitting position, during the closing set Ray was jumping up and down and racing across the stage, looking nothing at all like a 65-year-old senior citizen.

The crowd was a typical Ray/Kinks mixture: young ‘uns in their twenties, gray hairs in their seventies (some literally with canes), and everything in between. I rode the Red Line El train home with a big grin on my face. For the umpteenth time, I’d participated in the big communal singalong on the chorus to “Lola”: that’s the closest thing there is to a religious ritual in my life.

Fan videos from the show:

2 Responses to 'Ray Davies at the Riviera, 3/13/2010'

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  1. Gregory Malis w/Corey said,

    on March 15th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I believe you meant “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?” instead of “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy!” My son and I were front and center (probably why Ray kept pushing in his earplugs). Got Ray’s autograph on an old Soundstage Ticket from ’78 (never took place sadly). Fantastic show!!! ~

  2. bourdaghs said,

    on March 15th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Gregory: Thanks for the correction — you’re absolutely right, it was “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” Glad to hear you got the autograph, and yes it was a fantastic show. Best, Michael