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Ray Davies Hits All The Right Notes At The Wiltern

With nearly 50 years in the music industry under his belt, Ray Davies certainly has an extensive catalog to pull from with his live shows.

And even though he did not pull out The Kinks classic “Lola” in his performance Saturday night at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, his energetic set was packed with enough gems to satiate even the most fervent fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.

Davies with his trusty blue Stratocaster. 

Since The Kinks broke up in the mid 1990s, Davies is now backed by The 88, in addition to talented guitarist Bill Shanley.

Shanley and Davies started out the show subtly, with Davies strumming his acoustic guitar and Shanley punctuating tunes like “I Need You” and “This Is Where I Belong” with electric squeals.

From the beginning, it was evident that Davies was going to bring the energy.

Davies engaged the capacity crowd, bantering back and forth with casual conversation between songs.  He even dropped his voice into a lower register to imitate Johnny Cash during “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.”

But halfway through the show, it was time to turn up the volume.

Davies grabbed a turquoise Stratocaster and hit the first power chords of “Till the End of the Day,” the smash single from The Kinks’ 1965 album The Kink Kontroversy.

What followed was a rollicking party, calling to mind The Kinks’ punk and garage rock roots.

The wiry frontman implored the seated audience to stand and dance, yelling out call-and-response anthems like “20th Century Man” and “Celluloid Heroes.”

Davies introduced “Come Dancing” as The Kinks’ last big hit, but it was hardly their biggest.

A solid argument could be made for “You Really Got Me,” with which Davies closed.

Davies initially took “Got Me” in a bluesy direction, but it soon turned into the classic riff-laden rocker that has been covered by countless bands, most-notable by Van Halen.

The encore mainly dipped into The Kinks’ late-70s releases, with “Misfits” “Full Moon” “All Day and All of the Night” and “Low Budget” rounding out the evening.

As Davies soaked in the standing ovation by thanking the fans and even signing an autograph or two in the front row, he promised that he would return next year with new material.

Los Angeles will be waiting with bated breath.

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