Having seen Dave at the Magic Bag almost exactly a year before, and with
it being only a hop, skip and jump from our hometown, Fritz and I were eagerly
looking forward to this show. The day dawned damp and chilly, even for a spring
day in Michigan. Not exactly ideal traveling weather, but it was still a day
that held a lot of promise. We got to the Magic Bag just in time to see the
band go in and start their sound check. Already
there were a few people hanging around the back to get autographs, photos
and that sort of thing.
We started the queue a bit before 6pm and our newly-found friend from last
year, James Norrigh (from Port Huron), was the second person in the line.
James had been a long time Kinks fan but up until last year had not seen Dave
as a solo artist. He was keyed up remembering the show from last year and
in anticipation of the show we were about to see. Linda and Mark Dempsey soon
joined us, and a few familiar faces whose names I am not sure I've gotten,
but I know I've seen before!
The opening band, Ko and the Knockouts were pretty unique. The bass player
was dressed in full Eastern Asian schoolgirl attire and looked like something
straight out of an anime show. She also doubled as the lead singer and I'm
sure she was good, but for some reason the vocals were mixed down so much
that all I heard was the bit coming from the monitor.
Magic Bag's stage front has huge speakers on the floor in front of it, partially,
I suppose for security and partially for extra oomph, but during Ko and the
Knockouts' set I wondered if leaning against them all night was going to rattle
parts of me loose!
Dave and the band came on around 10:35pm ushered in by a new intro tape and
blasted into "Whose Foolin' Who". The crowd who had been standing
far back from the stage now surged forward and began to whoop and cheer loudly.
The second song was totally unexpected; Dave did a totally wonderful version
of "Big Sky" one of my favorite songs off of The Village Green Preservation
Society, which was soon followed by "Wicked Annabella". For "Wicked
Annabella" Dave played a long, "spooky" intro that was pretty
amazing. There were a lot of cool sound effects emanating from his Strat,
and even the talkers in the crowd were quiet and paying attention.
During Dave's usual flirting with the audience while playing "You're
Looking Fine" someone pointed to a really excited male fan when Dave
asked for a pretty lady. Dave smiled like a naughty schoolboy and then sang
to the man. Changing the lyrics of course to "First time I saw him..."
The man was grinning so widely I thought he was going to swallow his ears.
Before starting "See My Friends" Dave dedicated the song to Mike
Kraus and said that he knew Mike was watching from the spirit world and that
Mike was going to be greatly missed. I looked over at Fritz and he was wiping
his eyes. I know I had the same reaction to that wonderful tribute to one
of Kinkdom's greatest people.
The band this time out, Jonathan Lea on rhythm guitar, Derrick Anderson on
bass and Jim Laspesa on drums did not include a keyboard player nor in fact
was a keyboard present on stage. I wondered if they were just going to skip
over some of the more keyboard-intensive songs from Bug. It turned out I was
mistaken. They used a recorded intro to "Bug" and then on "Debugged"
Dave changed the arrangement to make it more jazz guitar influenced. It worked
on all levels!
The trio of Bug songs, "Bug", "Debugged" and
"Life after Life" ended the main part of the set.
The first encore consisted of one of my all time favorite Dave/Kinks songs
"Living on a Thin Line". This is another song that in recent tours
had a more keyboard-centered sound. The version Dave did this time out harkened
back to the more guitar-rich version of the 80s but still had a fresh feel
to it. Then the band played "All Day and All of the Night" and left
The house lights came up and people started to gather their things to leave,
maybe it was because it was the first night of the tour or the band was having
too much fun to leave, because just then the lights went down again and the
band came out for a second encore! They played a very hard rocking "I'm
Not Like Everybody Else" followed by "Father Christmas", and
a tease of "The Hard Way" from School Boys in Disgrace. "You
Really Got Me" ended the encore.
The show lasted for two hours and yet it seemed to just fly by. Linda, Mark,
Fritz and I hung out a bit after the show but the air outside had turned very
cold and we decided to get in the car and head home. After all, the next day
held a drive to Cleveland and the next Dave
Until next time…
RAVING DAVE FANS UNITE!!