Mick Avory - drums; John Dalton - bass; Dave Davies - guitar, harmonica; Ray Davies - guitar, vocals; John Gosling - keyboards; John Beecham - trombone, horn; Michael Cotton - trumpet; Alan Holmes - flute, saxophone; Dave Jones - saxophone
The Kinks were going through a serious transition when this recording was made in Washington, DC back in 1972. It marked the end of The Kinks as a '60s British Invasion pop band, to the group becoming a vehicle for Ray Davies' increasingly introspective rock 'n' roll poetry and his over-the-top performances, which borrowed heavily from the vaudevillian style of stage charisma.
Still, The Kinks could be a great live act, as they prove here. Because of reasons that have never really been explained, The Kinks were unable to tour the USA from 1966 through early 1969. The band remained in its native United Kingdom for the most part; and during this time, lead vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Ray Davies became more and more entrenched in lyrical themes that were distinctly British. It was during this period that he wrote what many feel was his greatest song ever, "Waterloo Sunset." Being stuck mostly in the UK, plus the on-again-off-again feud he had with his band-mate and brother, Dave, made for some very isolated times in his life. Ray used these times to write a number of concept records, most of which had some specific geographic tie-in to Great Britain.
This show was recorded during the promotion of Everybody's In Showbiz, an ambitious double LP (and the band's second outing on RCA Records) that combined new studio tracks with live versions of some of their previous songs. In the end, Everybody's In Showbiz was the band's first album to do considerably better in the U.S. than in the U.K. (where the band had its biggest following). The brilliant song about the faded glory of Hollywood Movie Stars of the past, entitled "Celluloid Heroes," would take the album to gold and further establish Ray Davies as one of the most poignant songwriters of his generation.
The band mixes a fair amount of older hits with newer material they were trying to establish in the U.S. Staples like "You're Looking Fine," segued into the Chuck Berry classic, "Little Queenie," work well to get the show off the ground. Next, the crowd is entertained by hits like "A Well Respected Man," "Lola" and "Here Comes Yet Another Day." Songs like "Brainwashed" and "Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues" as well as "Alcohol" fair less successfully, but are crucial to the aura of any Kinks show. Sadly, some of the best tracks are incomplete or are provided as outtakes. They, however, remain necessary to show the total Kinks experience in concert. Among them: "All Day and All of the Night," "You Really Got Me" and "Top of the Pops," which were originally cut for the Lola vs. the Powerman album in 1970. The Kinks would remain intact for another 24 years, but in the end, only Ray and Dave Davies would remain from the original lineup.
This show is a good example of why this cutting edge British Invasion band remained so influential for so many years. Like their contemporaries, The Beatles, the Stones and The Who, The Kinks were able to explore and develop a number of different musical styles and lyrical themes through a myriad of different songs, that, in one way or another, could all be considered rock 'n' roll.