Dave Davies ~ 2013 May 30 ~ Bull Run Restaurant ~ Shirley, MA
Band Personnel: Dave Davies, lead vocal, electric and acoustic guitar; Jonathan Lea, guitar and bass guitar; Teddy Freese, drums and backing vocals; Tom Currier, bass, keyboards, and backing vocals
[on electric guitar:] I'm Not Like Everybody Else - I Need You - Little Green Amp - Tired of Waiting - [on acoustic guitar:] Death of a Clown - Healing Boy - This Man He Weeps Tonight - a few bars of Mindless Child of Motherhood - Strangers - Young & Innocent Days - [on electic guitar:] One Night With You - Living on a Thin Line - All Day and All of the Night ... encore ... I'm Not Like Everybody Else - You Really Got Me
Scroll down past the videos for review; click to the right for photo gallery.
"Tired of Waiting":
"This Man He Weeps Tonight":
"Living on a Thin Line":
Dave Davies is back. He's not back at full strength, but he is back.
During the years 1997 through 2004, Dave Davies of The Kinks created a niche for himself as a successful and dynamic solo artist. During these years, he recorded new music and toured several times a year, backed by an all-star band of L.A. indie musicians. During those years Dave forged a strong fan base and gained considerable critical acclaim. At first people wanted to see him because they loved Kinks music, but as he and his band performed and recorded, he proved himself to be a formidable musical force as a solo musician. You started to hear people identify themselves not just as Kinks fans, but as Dave Davies fans.
Then in 2004 Dave Davies suffered a stroke. Through the long years since he has focused on recovering his health and restoring the skills he needs to once again prove himself as a formidable musical force. I am absolutely thrilled to say that as far as I can tell from seeing his live performance, his health is largely restored. The formidable musical skills are not what they once were, but I don't believe anyone could realistically expect that they would be.
This Dave Version 2 tour came to the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, Mass., on May 30. Housed in a historic old stage coach stop, on a country road in the bucolic hamlet of Shirley, Mass., this venue is easy to find, and only a handful of miles off a major highway (Rte. 2), not at all far from Boston. Concert Going Partner and I arrived about an hour before the doors were scheduled to open, and to our surprise, no other concert goers were there yet. Back in the old days (the Dave.1 years), fans generally started to show up earlier since the visiting with other fans was always a big part of the experience, but this time around (Dave.2), that seems not to be the case. We inquired about whether the band had already sound checked and were told they hadn't even arrived yet. Later on we found out that due to a van breakdown they had been delayed for over three hours.
At 5:30 the venue opened the doors and we claimed our seats at a front table on the left side of the stage. When I first attended a show at the Bull Run some years ago, my first impression of the place was that it seemed more suited to a wedding reception venue than a rock concert, with linen tablecloths and curtains on the windows. But don't be deceived; this is actually one of the best music venues around. The staff love the music, they know good music when they see it, they take care of the performers, there is a good big stage, the sound is excellent. But this particular night, as time passed and there was no Dave in sight, we kept an eye on Steve Gaetz, the soundman/manager, and the steam rising from behind his ears was starting to fog up the soundboard.
Finally we were hugely relieved to see Kate, Dave's partner/tour manager, arrive. She bounced into the performance space seeming quite relaxed, which was a big surprise considering they had just had this nightmare journey to even get to the venue. We watched her chatting up Steve from across the room, and I could see the steam blow away and a smile took its place.
The stage was already set up with rented drums, keyboard and amps. Dave's band -- Jonathan, Teddy and Tom -- brought the guitars and rest of the other equipment onto the stage and managed to sound check everything without making it obvious that that's what they were doing. They were really quite cool about it. It was clear they couldn't do a full sound check with the room filling up with concert goers having their dinners before the show.
We ordered a pizza which was really quite good, and then we ordered desserts, which were also really quite good. Friends of our started to come in. We had the good fortune of being at the same table as Jill Brand, one of my best friends in the Kinks world. We also saw Doug Hinman, who has written books about the Kinks, Frank Reda (sometimes known as "Freaky Frank"), who has seen the Dave Davies solo show more times than anyone else, and a few other familiar faces.
There was an opening act, a guy named Jeff Root, who played about a half hour of peppy, probably very good songs, but the crowd treated him with rude disdain, talking loudly during his entire set. I was appalled. Kinks crowds were always tough on opening acts, and that held true here.
Then the warm up tape started playing, an energetic, eclectic mix ranging from Zappa to a track from Dave Davies' new album (I Will Be Me). The three members of the "new" Dave Davies Band came on stage, and the warmup tape slid into the Kinks klassic "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" ... and from the left side of the stage, up from the downstairs area, came a tall man with flowing hair, Dave Davies himself, to a thunderous, standing ovation from the adoring crowd.
The four guys finished a shortened version of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" and launched into "I Need You," which was often used back in the Dave.1 days as the opening song of a live show. From there they played for about an hour, mainly the familiar and beloved Kinks songs that were features of the Dave.1 shows, and mixed in two songs from Dave's new album. They played only fourteen songs, including a repeat of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" as part of the encore set, so they actually only played 13 different songs. It was a short show that would have been very disappointing by Dave.1 standards, but given the new reality of Dave.2, it was an absolute thrill. The highlights of the show, musically speaking, were two songs they hadn't intended to play, that Dave played in response to audience requests, those being "This Man He Weeps Tonight" and "One Night With You." (You can see a video of the former if you scroll up to the links to the videos.) Also, Dave brought a willing audience member up on stage to sing with him on "Death of a Clown." Back in the Dave.1 years generally the audience member chosen for this honor was only expected to sing on the "la la la" section, but this time she apparently was supposed to sing a whole verse! I got some good pictures of this lucky lady (see the photo gallery up and to the right).
The best part of this show was just seeing Dave at all, and to see him in such apparent good health. Other than wearing glasses for most of the show, he looks exactly the same as he did during the Dave.1 years. Also impressive is Dave's courage, to give this tour his best effort, knowing that his musical powers are diminished, but willing to put it all out there anyway. Dave's performance was fantastic for a guy who had a stroke; and as he performs more and gets more comfortable, I am looking forward to being able to say that his performance is fantastic, period. But at this show, it wasn't there yet.
On to two more shows ... and better things to come.
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