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Ray Davies Wows Sold Out Cleveland Crowd

Ray Davies
Kristian Dowling, Getty Images

Rock ‘n’ roll legend and Kinks main man Ray Davies delivered a nearly two-hour show to a sold out House Of Blues in Cleveland recently (Nov. 12), packing in a lot of hits and obscurities, all us Kinks “Kooks” were in heaven! 

Mainly drawing on songs from the first ten years of his career, he opened the show with an acoustic set that featured himself and guitarist Bill Shanley. An almost somber rendition of ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ kicked things off, then he moved right into a slinky take on the early riff rocker ‘I Need You.’ Mid- 60′s favorites ‘Sunny Afternoon,’ ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ and a particularly moving ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’ drew smiles all around.

Ray told the crowd, “This is a song always associated with me back home, but was never a big hit here in America…I’m not sure why,” before the beautiful ‘Waterloo Sunset’ enveloped the hall. ‘Apeman’ and a stomping blues-tinged ’Victoria’ had the very vocal crowd singing along in full voice. Ray talked about his latest album of collaborations, ‘See My Friends’, saying he “never really wanted to collaborated with anyone before, except brother Dave,” then launched into the title song. ‘Misfits’ and ‘This Time Tomorrow’ were just a couple of nice surprises thrown into the mix this night.

He then dedicated the obscure ‘A Long Way From Home’ to his brother Dave, whom he said he wrote the song for back in 1970. Dave was the topic of many comments throughout the evening, laced with both love and anger. At one point he said he wasn’t going to mention “the K word” and every time he did, he would fine himself five dollars. Needless to say, ‘Kinks’ was mentioned many more times and the fines racked up!

’20th Century Man,’ from the ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ album, proved the turning point of the show where Ray and Bill were joined by the rest of his band, kicking things into high gear.

His band for this tour is a Los Angeles based group called The 88, who not only did justice to Ray’s songs but seemed to give him and the tunes a kick in the ass! Powerhouse performances of ‘The Hard Way,’ ‘David Watts’ and ‘This Is Where I Belong’ followed in rapid fire order. A bluesy take on ‘Nothin In The World Can Stop Me Thinking About My Baby,’ and a beautiful ‘Too Much On My Mind’ were among many highlights.  ‘Till The End Of The Day’ was dedicated to his friend, the late great Alex Chilton. When that mighty riff kicked in, it brought everyone to their feet. The crowd favorite ‘Celluloid Heroes’ kept them there.

Brother Dave was saluted once more, with Ray saying, “he could be a real pain in the ass, but he sure was a great guitarist” before bringing the house down with the one that started it all, ‘You Really Got Me’. Basking in the adulation, smiling and shaking hands with the crowd, Ray was enjoying it as much as the fans.  Still one of rock and roll’s finest, Mr. Davies was shining as bright as ever on this night!

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