Live Over Japan (Mainstream MAST-111/112)
Osaka International Center, Osaka, Japan – May 15th, 1995
Disc 1 (57:37): Stop Your Sobbing, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, I Go To Sleep, Do It Again, Hard Way, Till The End Of The Day, Low Budget, Apeman, Village Green Preservation Society, Too Much On My Mind, Sleepwalker, Days, 20th Century Man, Dead End Street, I’m Not Like Everybody Else, Come Dancin’
Disc 2 (65:23): It’s Alright, Living On A Thin Line, Set Me Free, Lola, David Watts, All Day And All Of The Night, Death of A Clown, Victoria, You Really Got Me. Bonus tracks, Shibuya Kokaido, Tokyo, Japan – May 11th, 1995: Till The End Of The Day, I Gotta Move, State Of Confusion, Sleepwalker, Muswell Hillbilly, 20th Century Man, Dead End Street, band introduction, Come Dancin’, Set Me Free
Live Over Japan on Mainstream documents The Kinks’ last tour in Japan and one of their final shows before finally calling it quits in July 1996. The May 15th show, the second of two nights in Osaka, forms the basis of this release. Mainstream supplement this with a generous selection of tracks from the May 11th, Tokyo concert.
Both tape sources are excellent DAT recordings positioned close to the stage. They capture Ray Davies’ important nuances in delivery very well. There are no cuts in the tape, and the only slight issue is distortion when the band play electric at the beginning of “Do It Again,” catching the taper off guard. He quickly fixes the levels, however, and is perfect for the rest of the show.
Live Over Japan serves as a great document of latter-day live Kinks. They were not touring to support the universally panned Phobia album (only Dave Davies’ “It’s Alright” made it into the setlist), nor were they doing a nostaligic greatest hit package. The set changed nightly, presenting what the band consider to be their most representitve and interesting work, delivered with Ray Davies’ flair for showmanship.
He starts the show alone onstage with his acoustic guitar. He starts off with the early song “Stop Your Sobbing.” The audience sing along, and also join in on “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” complete with a humorous reference to “Osaka town.” After “I Go To Sleep” Ray shouts “Let’s hear it for the KINKS.” With “You Really Got Me” riffs played on guitar and majestic synthesizers the band light up the stage with “Do It Again.”
The bulk of the set relies upon songs from their sixties catalogue and seventies rock operas, start with “Hard Way” from Schoolboys In Disgrace.
“Village Green Preservation Society” is played by request according to Ray. “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” is a definite highlight, as is “Come Dancing.”
The only newer song played is “It’s Alright,” which Ray announces is “live from Mars.” They follow with another Dave song, the mesmerizing “Living On A Thin Line.”
Ray’s constant strumming of the “Lola” riff builds anticipation, as does the shouts of “day-o” from the “Banana Boat Song.” The show ends with a performance of their most famous song, “All Of The Day And All The Night” and “David Watts.”
Three songs form the encore set, “Death Of A Clown,” “Victoria” and “You Really Got Me.”
The Tokyo show contributes three songs that weren’t played in Osaka, “I Gotta Move,” “State Of Confusion,” and “Muswell Hillbilly.” Mainstream package Live Over Japan in a slimline double jewel case with inserts with photographs from the era. There are not many Kinks titles from their later years, so this serves as a good document from one of their last shows.