From the archives: Yes – I was there – The Kinks, in Manchester in 1968 and then in London

I was fortunate enough in the sixties to see the Kinks live at Manchester University where I was a student at UMIST. They were indeed outstanding and it wasn't just because of their strange and unusual stage presence, but they really could play their instruments and sing and of course wrote some truly wonderful tunes. The latter was expected and the former certainly wasn’t. It was a sell out gig and the audience had a terrific time and whatever animosity and tension there was between the Davies brothers (who coincidentally both went to my school in Muswell Hill) only contributed to the power of the performance.

Standout track, even after all these years is/was “Last of the steam powered trains.”  Such a pity to learn recently that founding bass player Pete Quaife has died. His brother was in my class at The William Grimshaw school when they were starting their run of success. He never wanted to talk about it and in the end, we gave up asking. Some years later I saw them at the Forum in Kentish Town in North London and they were in a slightly different guise and with a slightly different line up, but again electrifying in the quality of their performance. They were promoting the “One For The Road” album.


It's worth remembering that in those days people were, and perhaps they are today, though I'm not really sure, dyed-in-the-wool fanatics about bands. This didn't mean that they weren't discriminating about the quality, but of course if any band gave better than a half way decent performance, they could do no wrong. Uncritical I suppose we were.

My guess was that people like me, and I include myself, didn't go to gigs merely to be educated, if educated at all. We went because we wanted the experience and probably, and this is difficult to recall, knew almost note for note, the music – even before we went there. This of course was known by bands who with some trepidation would introduce new numbers into the act, as indeed would have been prompted by the release, or imminent release of a new LP, as it then was.

Ray Davies trod cautiously at The Forum re this. No fool he!