Mick Avory - drums; Dave Davies - guitar, vocals; Ray Davies - vocals, guitar; John Gosling - piano, organ; Andy Pyle - bass; Pamela Travis - backing vocals; Claire Hamill - backing vocals; Mike Cotton Sound - horn section
Early in their lengthy hour and a half set, it becomes apparent that this is going to be a great show. The Kinks were notorious for either being amazing in concert, or incredibly sloppy, usually thanks to that old demon alcohol. Fortunately, they put on far more amazing shows than bad ones, and this is a killer concert.
Recorded on the band's 1977 Sleepwalker tour, it is hard to think that three decades have passed since this memorable show was first aired on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. This tour marked a return to the "hit single" version of The Kinks. For nearly five years prior to this, lead singer and band leader Ray Davies had been experimenting with concept albums and complete story themes, having delivered several (among them Preservation Act 1 & Act 2; The Kinks Present Schoolboys In Disgrace; The Kinks Present a Soap Opera; etc) to the band's prior label RCA Records. Now the band was on a new label, Arista Records, and Clive Davis made it clear to the lads that no concept albums would be accepted. Sleepwalker was a return to form for The Kinks and included several songs that became FM radio hits, including the title song and "Jukebox Music."
During this show in Santa Monica (a stronghold for the band), they blend a healthy mix of Sleepwalker material with segments of songs from the aforementioned concept albums, and finally with classic Kinks hits. Much of their most important material is represented, including energized versions of "Sunny Afternoon," "Celluloid Heroes," "Lola," "Alcohol," "Life On The Road" and the infectious "You Really Got Me." The highlight of the show, however, is the band's compelling version of "Waterloo Sunset," which is arguably one of the best songs ever written in contemporary music.