Ray Davies at the O2, Dublin on the 21st of October 2012
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor was released nearly seven years ago. Released, it was a song of power and emotional that spoke the language of a generation. Seven years later it still sounds as fresh as the day it was released. Whether it still sounds as good after forty eight is, of course, open to question. So too is whether Alex Turner, the man who sang that song as a twenty year old, will still be able to belt out the song in that year when he is sixty eight.
It may seem like a strange train of thought, but forty eight years ago a twenty year old sang a powerful and emotional song that spoke the language of a generation. On Sunday night in the O2, Ray Davies proved that both All Day and All of the Night, forty eight years old this week, sounds as good as ever and that he is still well able to belt it out. The song, played as the first song of his three track encore, was belted back by the dancing crowd too.
To say it was the highlight of the night is to do an injustice to the entire show; a show that only had a brief, and very minor, lull in the middle. From the moment the Davies walked out onto the stage and began into This is Where I Belong, you had no choice but to feel that no words were ever more apt. If he wasn’t a man born for the stage, his half-century of performing on it could fool even the keenest observers.
Davies is a proper entertainer and showman. Between songs he shares anecdotes, tells stories behind his songs, revisits gigs – he consistently refers to the O2 as The Point – and talks about himself in a charmingly self-deprecating manner. He even makes light of the sparse numbers attending the gig. He refers to the O2 as an ‘ambitious venue’, says that “It’s good to have belief [that he could sell it out]” and talks on occasion about he likes playing ‘intimate’ shows. So much does this endear the man to the crowd, it would not have mattered if he didn’t have any music to showcase.
This is not the case, of course, as Davies, through his work with the Kinks, has a back catalogue matched by almost no one. He blasts through all-time greats like Dedicated Follower of Fashion (while wearing a horrible suit/runner combination, it has to be said), Sunny Afternoon, Dead End Street and Till the End of the Day as though they are just filler in the show. Still, the crowd laps it up and sings back every word. When they don’t sing back well enough, Davies is more than happy to repeat a chorus to get the energy back up in the room.
His voice doesn’t quite have the same quality it used to, but, given he’s sixty eight, that is perfectly acceptable. Also, for his voice lacks on the poppy Autumn Almanac for example, is made up for by the way he can effortlessly transmit the emotion of songs like See My Friends and A Long Way from Home through the room. The slowed-down version he plays of Waterloo Sunset is beautiful, and not something that those in attendance will soon forget.
Towards the he plays Lola because ““I might as well get this one out of the way.” The fully-seated crowd rise to their feet. Some rush towards the stage where they stage for the encore of All Day and All of the Night, Thank You for the Days, and You Really Got Me. It’s an emotional, enthusiastic and exceptional trio to end a show that rarely failed to deliver anything less. It’s just a shame there weren’t more there to appreciate it.
Alex Turner, here is your template. We’ll see you in 2053.
This Is Where I Belong
Dedicated Follower of Fashion
In a Moment
See My Friends
Dead End Street
20th century man
Till the End of the Day
Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
Tired of Waiting
A Long Way from Home
All Day and All of the Night
Thank You for the Days
You Really got Me