24 July 2015 (gig)
02 August 2015
Dark rain clouds circled like vultures above Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College as Ray Davies took the stage. Fortunately, the seasoned musical veteran’s enviable back catalogue of hits proved to be waterproof.
Due to his infamous rift with his brother Dave, Ray relied on a much younger band to assist him and this group proved more than capable of the task. While their beefy sound helped breathe new life into familiar classics, the supporting harmonies rescued Ray when his voice sometimes strained to hit the high notes.
Ray's solo songs were perfectly adequate and greeted with respectful enthusiasm but it was clear what the audience wanted. Davies didn't disappoint, bookending the show with two different versions of “You Really Got Me” and saving the biggest and best hit until the very end with the inevitable encore (“Lola”).
It would have been understandable if Ray had performed on auto-pilot but he was in good spirits and noticeably sprightly throughout the set. He seemed genuinely touched by his audience's commitment given it was an outdoor gig under drizzily skies, a fact which he commented on before the rather-ironic-given-the-circumstances “Sunny Afternoon.”
With hopes of a full-scale Kinks reunion still far from certain, this is probably the closest we will get to the real thing. Based on this performance – that’s fine by me.