Mick Avory - drums; Dave Davies - guitar, vocals; Ray Davies - vocals, guitar; John Gosling - piano, organ; Andy Pyle - bass; Pamela Travis - backing vocals; Claire Hamill - backing vocals; Ray Cooper - percussion; Mike Cotton Sound - horn section
Recorded at the very end of the band's 1977 Sleepwalker tour on Christmas Eve, this is one of the most incredible live Kinks recordings ever captured. After being on the road for nearly a solid year, the band was shit-hot, and that is reflected here in a set that was unusually tight for a band that made a career out of being often drunk on stage. Not only did the band sound great, Ray Davies picked one of the best and most encompassing set lists the band ever offered its fans.
The show covered all periods in the legendary rockin' band's career from its early British Invasion hits ("You Really Got Me," All The Day And All The Night"), to its reflective middle period (where Davies wrote some of his best material including "Lola," "Get Back Into Line," "Celluloid Heroes," and the poignant ballad, "Waterloo Sunset"), to the concept/theatrical phase when it released albums such as Preservation Act I and Act II, School Boys In Disgrace, and Starmaker. Finally, it also included the newer material from Sleepwalker when the band signed with Clive Davis and Arista Records and returned to making radio friendly rock singles.
But aside from the hits, there are some real gems in this recording, including "Slum Kids," a great song from the Preservation Act 1, that was never recorded for the record. Hearing the song, one can understand why it was left off of the disc: It is blatant remake of Sam Cooke's classic, "Bring It On Home To Me."
The King Biscuit Flower Hour recorded nearly a dozen Kinks shows going back to 1974 that were used to cull the tracks for the group's many appearances on the syndicated radio show. This one, recorded a full three decades ago, is clearly one of the best. The Kinks last performed in 1995 when they helped open the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. A few years later, Dave Davies suffered a serious stroke that has hampered his ability to play guitar. Around the same time, Ray Davies decided to pursue his solo career in earnest.
The Kinks may be gone, but they were clearly one of the truly great rock bands of all time.