LIVE: Ray Davies @ The Egg, 11/23/09

Somebody must be slipping truth serum into the bottles of Saratoga water backstage at The Egg.

Earlier this month, during his introduction to “Sloop John B,” Brian Wilson revealed, “My mother taught me not to hate anything or anybody. But I’ll tell you one thing – this next song I do not like.”

On Monday night, Ray Davies displayed some equally surprising (and refreshing) candor, declaring, “This next song is called ‘Come Dancing,’ and I wish I’d never written it.”

And, in truth, the song’s Caribbean vibe and faux steel drum riff stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb amidst all of the primal rock and roll (from the opening ” I Need You” through “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” to the final rave-up encore of “You Really Got Me”) and the lush, nostalgic ballads (“Waterloo Sunset,” “Days”) on Monday.

Leave it to an iconoclast like Davies to re-invent the Kinks catalog of hits in the recording studio (the new “Kinks Choral Collection”) and then go out on the road to support the album … without a choir (except for a few big cities).

Then again, as he so proudly pointed out at The Egg, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.”

Of the missing choir, Davies explained, “They don’t work on Mondays, for some reason. It’s a strange union. They work on Sundays quite a bit, though.”

No matter. The show – half sit-down acoustic accompanied by too-loud guitarist Bill Shanley and half stand-up electric with a four-piece band (including latter-day Kink Ian Gibbons on keyboards and accordion) – was a delight, striking just the right balance between Kinks classics, a few deep-catalog selections (“Moments,” a nearly forgotten soundtrack nugget, proved to be one of the highlights of the night) and a nice sampling of Davies’ latest solo album, “Working Man’s Cafe.”

Song I most wanted to hear that went unplayed: “See My Friends.”

Read my review in the Times Union.

Read Paul Rapp’s review in Metroland.

Classical violinist-turned-singer-songwriter Christina Courtin opened the show with a half-hour set accompanied by resonator guitarist Ryan Scott. Offering a half dozen selections of sturdy, folksy songs, including the stark “February” and the country twang-meets-ragtime closer, “Blue Collar Man,” the Buffalo gal exuded a confident grace, while her charmingly cracked voice suggested an underlying vulnerability.

Here’s my favorite exchange of the evening:
Christina: Who here is excited to see Ray Davies tonight?
Ryan: I checked the Village Voice recently and saw that we’d missed Ray Davies at Town Hall, and I thought, “Oh, no!”
Christina: But this worked out perfectly because we couldn’t have afforded to go, anyway.

Ah, show business…


RAY DAVIES w/ Bill Shanley
I Need You
I’m Not Like Everybody Else
In a Moment
Hymn for a New Age
Waterloo Sunset
Better Things
Sunny Afternoon
Dedicated Follower of Fashion
RAY DAVIES w/ Bill Shanley, Ian Gibbons, Karin Forsman
A Long Way From Home
RAY DAVIES w/ full band
Celluloid Heroes
Til the End of the Day
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
After the Fall
Well Respected Man
One More Time
Vietnam Cowboys
The Tourist
Come Dancing
20th Century Man
All Day and All of the Night
The Getaway (Lonesome Train)
You Really Got Me

Green Jay
Foreign Country
One Man Down
Blue Collar Man

Ray Davies (photo by Martin Benjamin)
Ray Davies (photo by Martin Benjamin)

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