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.

The Kinks

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.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. The One for the Road live ver­sion on Ama­zon, iTunes, Spo­ti­fy. Here’s a nice live video from about 1980.


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May 13, 2018
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