LIVE: Dave Davies @ The Egg, 10/26/15
Review by Steven Stock
Photograph by Stanley Johnson
Right from the start Dave Davies’ audience was far more boisterous than The Egg’s harried ushers were accustomed to, and he seemed to thrive on the crowd’s manic energy, with his singing in particular growing stronger and more confident as the evening progressed.
Of course, no one was at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre that night because of Davies’ prowess as a singer. We’d come to see the Kinks’ guitarist from 1964-1996, the man who sliced the cone of his Elpico amp with a Gillette razor when its sound was too clean and inadvertently spawned hard rock and heavy metal, the man who made Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists, and not least the man who suffered a stroke outside BBC’s London studio on June 30, 2004 and for a time couldn’t speak or walk, much less play guitar.
Any concerns about Davies’ health were surely dispelled as he launched into the opening riff of “All Day and All of the Night,” backed by a road-tested trio comprised of guitarist Jonathan Lee, Tom Currier alternating between bass and keyboard and the always-excellent Dennis Diken (more often seen with the Smithereens) on drums. Albany was the thirteenth stop on the quartet’s fall tour, which concludes with a single date in London a week before Christmas.
Davies’ guitar playing was impressive throughout. Unlike some of his compatriots on the Top 100 list, his fretwork is almost always in service of the song – memorable riffs as an integral aspect of the composition a la “You Really Got Me,” rather than extended solos grafted onto a tune. Most of the Kinks’ hits clocked in at less than four minutes, and Davies’ 18-song performance at The Egg was similarly snappy and well-paced. The three occasions he did indulge is some extended flights – “Creeping Jean,” the wistful psychedelia of “See My Friends” (introduced as “one of my favorite Kinks songs”) and especially “Living on a Thin Line” – served to remind us that Davies can still execute tricky solos with panache.
Davies switched to acoustic guitar mid-set for a lovely version of “Strangers,” followed by “Flowers in the Rain” and “Young and Innocent Days,” the latter dedicated to brother Ray. Perched on his drum stool, Diken sang a tremulous tenor backing vocal on “This Man He Weeps Tonight,” and then Davies’ girlfriend/publicist Rebeca Wilson joined the quartet onstage to lend her voice to his 1967 solo single “Death of a Clown.” The exuberant crowd sang along with gusto, none louder than the raucous young lady (not yet Dave’s friend, although not from lack of trying!) who’d been banished to the back of the house after approaching Dave once too often.
The closing salvo just about justified the steep ticket price: “Dead End Street,” “Where Have All the Good Times Gone,” the non-conformist anthem “I’m Not like Everybody Else” and finally “You Really Got Me.” Fifty-one years after its release, the Kinks’ third single (their first to claim the top spot on the charts) still has an atavistic power that compels headbanging. It was a great end to a great evening at The Egg.
DAVE DAVIES SET LIST
Rippin’ Up Time
All Day and All of the Night
She’s Got Everything
Tired of Waiting for You
See My Friends
In You I Believe
Flowers in the Rain
Young and Innocent Days
This Man He Weeps Tonight
Death of a Clown
Living on a Thin Line
Dead End Street
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
I’m Not like Everybody Else
You Really Got Me
Bryan Lasky’s review and photographs at LiveForLiveMusic.com