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RAY DAVIES

17-12-2009

Her name’s spelt L-O-L-A Lola! But where is she wonders Andy Munro after seeing her creator Ray Davies at Symphony Hall.

The Kinks may be a distant memory but Ray Davies has kept the flag flying with his solo career. His show at Symphony Hall attracted a near sell out audience albeit of an age profile that would have bankrupt the promoter if there had been a concessionary rate.

Ray, who is rumoured to be 65, started the show in a fittingly sedate fashion with an acoustic set with a guitar duet with a member of his band.

Things then livened up with the arrival of the full backing band which included one of the remaining members of the Kinks on the keyboard and a quite outstanding antipodean drummer.

Rousing renditions of many of the Kinks hits followed together with some selected solo tracks notably from the iconic Working Man’s Café album.

After an interval, when the ice cream vendor was more overworked than the barman which again might say something about the clientele , the second half was dominated by the Crouch End Choir.

Whilst admiring their undoubted talent and perhaps recognising a slightly ‘Tommyesque’ take on rock music, it slightly sullied, to my mind, the great simplicity of Ray Davies’ lyrics and the talented rock band who were reminiscent of the Kinks in their heyday.

Indeed at times, the choir seemed to overwhelm Ray’s vocals and I almost felt a bit cheated by the second set although the first set left me feeling that I had still had value for money.

Several encores brought the curtain down on the performance again backed by the choir.

Yet the question on everybody’s lips at the end was “Where was Lola?”

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Andy Munro would like to point out that 'my views are personal and not those of the City Council'

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