The infamous little green amp that put the rock in rock 'n roll and wonderfully changed the genre forever.
Photo Credit-Russ Fletcher (russhifi.blogspot.com)
Photo Credit-Klaus Hiltscher
All the rock guitarists (and struggling wanna-be's) out there owe a lot to this pioneer. For if it wasn't for his frustration at not getting the sound he heard in his head out of that little amp that fateful day way back in the age of aquarius, where would music be? Would there be punk? Heavy metal? Dave Davies' latest retrospective homage to that music and life altering incident is included on his latest work of art, "I Will Be Me".
I was lucky enough to hear tracks from the new CD "live" when Dave recently visited Fall River, MA and played with back-up band, "The Jigsaw Seen", at the Narrows Center for the Arts. It's been a long time since Dave visited these shores and there were hundreds of grateful fans at the show to welcome him back. It was his first tour of the United States since prior to that frightening day when he suffered a major stroke in 2004. The music community held their collective breath and wondered if the world would ever hear the masterful musician strum and pluck a 6-string again. His fans heaved a huge sigh of relief when word came that he had recovered, and an even bigger shout of happiness when it was announced he'd be touring to support a new solo CD.
The last time I saw Dave perform was oh so long ago when he was still rocking out as a member of the Kinks. At the time, he was relegated to the background (except for the occasional rendition of his classic song "Death of a Clown") behind his talented, but limelight stealing, older brother, Ray. I didn't quite know what to expect for a Dave solo show. Let me tell you, he didn't disappoint! He turned out to be just as great a showman as Ray.
I met up with my date for the night, my older brother, on the sidewalk outside the venue. (Yes. He's the one to blame for my infatuation with all things Kinks - It's all his fault...really.) We chatted down memory lane, recalling all the krazy Kinks shows we had attended. Our favorite songs. Albums. Moments.
Stepping into the venue, we were directed up 3 flights of stairs to an open airy room. From the large windows, we took in the view of the mighty Braga Bridge which spans scenic Mount Hope Bay. A few chairs and small bistro tables, marked "reserved", were nestled close to the stage. Behind those were a few rows of chairs and even what looked like church pews. Quite eclectic seating arrangement! We watched as some of the patrons set down bags and food hampers, and pulled out all kinds of yummy goodies and drinks. And for those who may have forgot or didn't know to BYOS, i.e. Bring Your Own Stuff, (like big bro and me), there was a small café in the far corner offering coffee and pastry. And for such a wide open expanse of space, it did feel quite cozy.
Within a few moments of getting settled in our seats, the lights dimmed and the buzz in the crowd grew in anticipation.
From the moment the dapper English gentleman stepped onto the stage and ripped into the opening chords of old Kinks classics "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" and then "Need You", the elder statesman of rock had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Loud applause erupted when Dave rolled into his new ditty "Little Green Amp".
Unlike a lot of music veterans I've seen in concert, Dave didn't neglect the past and devote the entire show to new recordings. He satisfied his longtime fans with perennial Kinks tunes like "See My Friend", "Where Have All the Good Times Gone", "Living On A Thin Line", and "Tired of Waiting For You". And much to the delight of the assembled crowd, he even threw in the deep track "Creeping Jean".
The crowd was delighted when Dave pulled out another seldom heard classic from the Kinks catalog, a song from the exemplar album, "Arthur". He lovingly dedicated "Young and Innocent Days" to his big brother. And pleased the crowd with the Dave penned oldies (but definitely goodies!) "Strangers" and "Love Me Until The Sun Shines".
Dave was a master of concocting an intimate feel - he pulled the audience in close with lively banter, recollections and by even inviting a fan onstage to sing along with him on "Death of a Clown".
He sounded strong, healthy. Full of life. His fingers flew across the frets, and masterfully picked his 6-string. As great as ever.
Then he drew his fans into the present by serenading the faithful with tracks from the new CD like: "Healing Boy", a sweet ballad dedicated to his grandson which showcased the softer side of this mega-watt rocker, and the reflective "Remember The Future".
But he really had the spectators in his tight English fist and on their feet when the band launched into the heavy rocking "All Day and All of the Night". As the final notes rang out, Dave and The Jigsaw Seen left the stage. Waaaay too soon. The crowd would have none of that. They clapped and cheered until the musicians once again took their places and dove into a much deserved encore. They reprised the opening number "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" and then rocked into one of their biggest hits and the song everyone seemed to have been waiting for, "You Really Got Me".
From the first note, to the encore, Dave and the band had the crowd singing and swaying along. They knew every word, every note. I was enthralled and transported back in time to my own innocent youth when I first became a Kinks devotee (and therein after was corrupted...just sayin'...must be some correlation there...hmmm). Quite a few times during the evening, I caught myself closing my eyes and just breathing in the music...
With a mighty crashing of the drums and guitars and a tip of the proverbial hat, bows were taken. Dave thanked his fans for coming out and hinted that we may see him again real soon.
And with that, it was over. The lights came up. I clutched my newly purchased, autographed copy of Dave's new CD. A very happy big bro and I headed for the stairs. Satisfied. Fulfilled, even. Nothing like reliving some great memories while making new ones. Thanks Dave! We are already eagerly anticipating your return!