Friday, June 17, 2011

This is the dawning of the Age of The Meltdown!

Yes Constant Reader, we have been a-visiting the South Bank a bit to sample what Ray Davies has cooked up for his tenure as curator of the annual Meltdown Festival.
The first show was the kid himself, Mr Ray Davies with his current band.

The first section of his show started, as usual, with Ray and his guitarist Bill Shanley playing a loose acoustic set - my personal highlights included "I Need You", "See My Friends", "Misfits", "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", "Set Me Free" and "All Day and All Of The Night". Also as usual, Ray threw most of his Kinks classics open for the audience to sing-a-long, which I always find a bit of a surprise - especially when he sings an extra chorus after the applause dies down to get the audience singing again. What this section always shows is what a gifted guitarist he has in Bill Shanley.After a while the other members of his band snuck on and again his extensive songbook was given a thorough airing with great performances of "Well Respected Man", "Where Have All The Good Times Gone", "I'm Not like Everybody Else" and audience-rousing "Sunny Afternoon" which of course took place "in the summertiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime"!

During the show my attention was constantly being diverted by the vaguely amusing sight of a clutch of *ahem* 40-something women who occasionally ran down the aisles to stand in front of the stage to do some dancing that only missed their handbags on the floor to complete the image. The ushers were not having any of that however and after a verse or two shooed away the Rayettes to their seats again.Ray of course left the best til last, ending with four songs that any writer would have given their eye-teeth to have written but luckily for us were written by him; songs that all beat with a true Londoner heart "Waterloo Sunset", "Days", "You Really Got Me" and "Lola".

And yes, Constant Reader... "Waterloo Sunset" again hit me right in the tear ducts. I had just started to type "I wish I knew what it is about this song that...." but on reflection I *don't* want to know what it is about that melody and that choice of words that has such an immediate emotional effect on me - every time. The only other song I can think of that has such an effect on me is Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday" from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.To go from that intense personal experience of "Waterloo Sunset", to "Days" with all it's memories, to the barb-wire whiplash of "You Really Got Me" to the the lyrical slyness and life-affirming generosity of spirit within "Lola" is to celebrate the genius of Ray Davies, songwriter.

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