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; Mike Cotton Sound - horn section
The Kinks began as an early-'60s British Invasion pop group and gradually became a vehicle for Ray Davies' profound rock 'n' roll poetry and his charismatic live persona.
The Kinks were a great live act, as proven here. For reasons that have never really been explained, the Kinks were unable to tour the states from 1966 through early 1969, so the band mostly remained in the U.K. During this period, lead vocalist/songwriter/guitarist, Ray Davies, became more and more involved in lyrical themes that were increasingly introspective.
It was during this period that he wrote what many feel is his greatest song, "Waterloo Sunset," which is featured here. Also included in this set is his tragic story of the faded glory of Hollywood movie stars of the past, entitled "Celluloid Heroes," which would establish Ray Davies as one of the most poignant songwriters of his generation.
While at the height of their powers, Ray Davies and the Kinks released four theatrical concept albums, Preservation Act 1 & 2 (1973, 1974); The Kinks Present a Soap Opera (1975); and The Kinks Present Schoolboys In Disgrace (1975), which all received abysmal reviews. After those commercial mishaps, the band moved to Arista Records, and Clive Davis made it clear to the lads that no concept albums would be accepted. Sleepwalker (1977) was a return to form and included several songs that became radio hits, including the title song and "Jukebox Music."
During this 90-minute show, the second of two taped in Santa Monica for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, they play cuts from Sleepwalker, the four concept albums, and a healthy dose of classic Kinks. It is essentially a greatest hits package with gems like "Sunny Afternoon," "Celluloid Heroes," "Lola," "Alcohol," "Life On The Road," "Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)," "Well Respected Man," "Life Goes On," and a medley of the infectious rockers "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night." The highlight of the show, however, is the band's compelling performance of the aforementioned "Waterloo Sunset," arguably one of the greatest songs ever written in contemporary music.
Like their contemporaries, the Beatles, the Stones and the Who, the Kinks were able to explore a number of different musical styles and lyrical themes, while never losing their rock 'n' roll roots. They would remain intact through 1995, when they played their last gig at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. In the end, only Ray and Dave Davies would remain from the original lineup.
In 2005, Dave Davies suffered a massive stroke, though he has recovered enough to speak and make public appearances. Ray Davies continues to tour with his own band, playing new material and classic Kinks hits.