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Ray Davies, Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC: I’m a cut price person in a low budget land December 12, 2008

Posted by Anton A in British music, Ray Davies.
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The only problem with a Ray Davies show these days is the exit music. Instead of humming one of Ray’s most excellent tunes, I always find myself singing “I’m walkin’ to New Orleans” on my way home. Maybe that’s the point.

There’s little I can say about Ray that I haven’t said already; I simply love this man and all the great music that he and The Kinks have given us.

Friday’s show at the Hammerstein was three songs shorter than the April extravaganza up at the Beacon, but it was also more intense, with the addition of guitarist Bill Shanley ramping the performance up to another level. It was just Ray & Bill sitting on stools with acoustic guitars for the first nine songs. Bill then picked up his electric for Sunny Afternoon. The bassist, other guitarist & lovely but inaudible backup singer joined in for the next two before the full band hit the stage.

It was lovely to hear Starstruck, a rarity from the Village Green Preservation Society album, and See My Friends, a haunting raga-tinged tune from 1965. Ray told a poignant little story of how he wrote the song, about the death of his sister, after watching fishermen casting their nets out on a river in India.

It was another special thrill to get a full electric version of Johnny Thunder, which segued right into Village Green Preservation Society. The band really rocked Low Budget – that song’s time has come round again after all these years. The two songs from the Arthur album, particularly the rarely played Shangri-La, took the encore set out on a high note.

Here’s the full set of 24 memorable songs:

acoustic duo:

I Need You, Where Have All The Good Times Gone?, Father Christmas, Apeman, Starstruck, I’m Not Like Everybody Else, See My Friends, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, Morphine Song

acoustic/electric duo/quartet + backing vocalist:

Sunny Afternoon, The Getaway, Dead End Street

full band:

Vietnam Cowboys, Celluloid Heroes, Workingman’s Cafe, Come Dancing, The Tourist, Johnny Thunder / Village Green Preservation Society, All Day And All Of The Night, Low Budget

encores:

Shangri-La, Victoria, You Really Got Me

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