Oops, we’ve been too long without a Maximum Rock and Roll song; thus this Kinks classic. The Kinks are cool but to be honest, there are only a couple of their songs that stick in your head from one year to the next; this is one of them. But if you’re too young to have seen them perform at their peak, you missed something special.
I remember a concert at some huge hockey rink in the early Eighties; I have rarely in my life been so entertained. It was a big stage with two long runways out into the crowd; one for Ray Davies, the other for Dave. Their rock-n-roll moves were exciting and graceful and seemed totally spontaneous, which meant they’d practiced a lot or had just been on tour for a long time.
There was this thing that I guess was a routine part of Kinks gigs back in the day: Every song or two, some woman would burst out of the crowd, charge up on the stage, and throw a big hug on Ray Davies, who grinned a huge grin every time. Then she’d be courteously escorted off-stage by a security guy. It was kind of hilarious.
The performance were fast and committed and just totally fun. Then, at the end of the show, they pulled this awesome trick: There were a few big hits that hadn’t been played, so we were expecting lots of encores. They came back pretty fast, not making the crowd work for it, played one minor, song, said, “Thanks, bye”, left the stage, and suddenly the house lights came up. Twenty thousand people howled in outrage and in about three seconds, they killed the house lights, and the Kinks roared into You Really Got Me while the crowd was still yelling. I’ll never forget it.
The whole experience is nicely captured on their live One for Road album, which is really great; it’s effectively a greatest-hits package that captures a lot of the energy and fun of the shows; way more than the sum of its parts.