Thursday, October 17, 2013


I have never been nostalgic. Every year that tendency seems more pronounced.  It's a family trait, I think, and  probably a flaw, a weakness and sign of severe emotional blockage and a stunted nature.

Still, reminded yesterday that today and tomorrow mark the 44th anniversary of The Kinks’ return to US touring at the Fillmore East, I palpably thrilled and got (as Maynard G. Krebs used to say) misty.
To quote Ray Davies in All Of My Friends Were There, the Fillmore dates were “my big day, it was the biggest day of my life.”

Beginning with You Really Got Me, I loved The Kinks to distraction (their only rivals in my mind were The Byrds, who also combined real poetry moments with individual and group charisma; since one band was English and one American, they could co-exist in balance in my mental field) and The Kinks' live performance renewal after the four-year mysterious bad behavior ban seemed an unbelievable, almost Biblical, event.  The fact that the great Bonzo Dog Band were also on the bill was, as blasphemous people are prone to say, proof of God’s existence.

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society had been released in the US earlier in the year and the extraordinary Arthur was just then in the record racks.  New York City was more romantic, more fun, and a lot less expensive in those days and the Fillmore was the very best place ever.

The tour poster pictured on top brings back fine memories of the Fillmore East's lobby, where I first saw it displayed, and the fact that that Pete Quaife is still featured on a key band marketing tool a year after he had finally and  definitively been replaced by John Dalton is a signifier from a more spontaneous, amateurish (in the classic sense), Kinky-signified era. The live performance shots above were actually taken at Toronto shows six weeks after the Fillmore dates, but they depict the band looking exactly as I saw them in NYC, as I wish I could see them today. 

The exterior photo below of the Fillmore East marquee, with Ratner’s in the foreground (btw, The Move never fulfilled that NYC date), and the Fillmore “playbill” above both summon memories I cannot share here, none of which have faded, because all of this happened when I was the age my daughter is now during an extended illegal weekend away from boarding school and home, and I don’t want Jane to know what I got up to then and with whom.   

In those days I spent a lot of time lying while telling myself I was seeking the truth.  I lie very rarely now and I speak verily when I tell you that despite what some idiot so-called critics and “historians” (double good grief) have written about The Kinks’ “sloppy performances” in those days and on that weekend in particular, they were the greatest rock and roll shows I have ever seen and they changed my life forever.


  1. "In those days I spent a lot of time lying while telling myself I was seeking the truth." Oh dear, yes. Me too. Working on it.

    1. Lying allowed me to live a "secret life," and the conundrum was/is that it was secret from everyone, including myself. But you can never know the problems and disadvantages that come from lying without having gone through the lying phase. And I suspect that former liars are much more acute than non-liars in identifying current practicing liars. You must be back from Blighty, yes? Curtis