Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Even after all these years, Ray Davies is a bit of a tease. When the Kinks came on stage Tuesday night at Constitution Hall, Davies immediately launched them into a tantalizing snatch of their 1965 hit, "You Really Got Me," only to shift without warning into a tune from "Sleepwalker," the new album that is the Kinks' biggest success in years.
Later on, though, Davies delivered the oldies he had been promising - and that the audience had been wanting.
After a string of none-too-satisfying rock operas, one of which was excerpted last night, it was good to see that one of rock's most durable groups is once again willing to draw on one of rock's finest bodies of songs. Davies is one of the finest pop songwriters ever to come out of England and his tongue-in-cheek lyrics and campy performing style are even more pronounced live than on record.
The brand new songs from "Sleepwalker" have those same endearing qualities. "Life Goes On," one of Davies' most ironic tunes, and "Life on the Road," also a part of last night's hour-plus set, indicated that after 13 years on the road the Kinks are as strong as ever, as did Dave Davies' searing guitar solo on "Mr. Big Man."
The evening ended on a sour note, however, when guitarist Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory got into a fight on stage during the final encore. After Davies spat on Avory, the drummer threw his sticks at the guitarist and stormed offstage. Davies retaliated by kicking the entire drum kit off its raised platform.