Ray Davies

Massey Hall, Toronto ON - March 30, 2006

BY Chuck MolgatPublished May 1, 2006

With a show-opening rendition of his 1966 B-side gem, "I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” venerated Kinks front-man Ray Davies served early notice that, despite touring in support of a new solo release, he’d be delving deep into the catalogue of his beloved old band as well. New material from his Other People’s Lives CD stood up remarkably well buttressed by obvious hits of yore and lesser-known classics like "Dead End Street,” "20th Century Man,” "A Long Way From Home” and "Oklahoma, U.S.A.,” along with a medley of songs from the critically revered The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (which Davies self-deprecatingly introduced as "one of the worst selling records of all time”). Backed by a much younger four-piece band, Davies demonstrated no ill effects of a gunshot wound to the leg suffered in pre-Katrina New Orleans, as he bounced around the stage in full ham mode. He spoke fondly of the Crescent City as well, explaining that much of the material on his new CD was penned there and that prior to the city’s devastation, it reminded him of his old North London stomping grounds of Muswell Hill. Between songs, Davies shared anecdotes in the spirit of his narrative-laden Storyteller tour. He bonded further with the crowd by encouraging many audience sing-alongs, perhaps too many. At one point, Davies let loose a backhanded acknowledged of the predominantly male audience’s participation, saying, "It sounds like the men’s locker room in here, but never mind.” Ultimately, Davies’ sometimes goofy stage antics, combined with what seemed like a genuine eagerness to connect with his audience, demonstrated a deep seeded passion for his craft, respect for his fans and an uncommon penchant for refusing to take himself too seriously.

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