Sleepwalking In Boston (Screamer-05050/51)
Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA – February 5th, 1977
Disc 1 (49:27): One Of The Survivors, Sleepwalker, Rush Hour Blues, You Make It All Worthwhile, Ordinary People, Victoria, A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset, Supersonic Rocket Ship, School Days, The Hard Way, Education
Disc 2 (48:06): Brother, Stormy Sky, Life Goes On, Celluloid Heroes, Acute-Schizoprenia-Paranoia Blues, Banana Boat Song, Lola, Alcohol, You Really Got Me / All Day And All Of The Night, Money Talks
The Kinks’ return to the expectations of rock performance instead of a traveling rock-opera troupe began on February 1st 1977 at the Palladium in New York. The Kinks then traveled up to Boston and played several shows at the Boston Music Hall between February 2nd and February 5th.
Sleepwalking In Boston was pressed on silver by Screamer in 2004 when they were extremely active and issued many titles with tapes from Boston venues. Screamer utilize and excellent stereo audience recording of the February 5th show. There are two small tape flips found at 4:45 in “Education” and right after “Lola.”
All the shows on this tour started with “One Of The Survivors” followed by the title track from the new album Sleepwalker and a trilogy of songs from the 1975 album Soap Opera, “Rush Hour Blues,” “You Make It All Worthwhile” and “Ordinary People.”
A minute of “Victoria” is played for the first time on the tour, segued with “A Well Respected Man” and “Sunny Afternoon.” After the quick medley, Ray tells the audience that “I didn’t realize we’d do this song tonight until I did a radio show this afternoon. They played a song called ‘Waterloo Sunset’ that was a hit every place else but America. It’s … about a love affair with a river.” It seems to be a popular song in Boston as the audience start singing it before Ray does.
They follow an extremely rare live performance of “Supersonic Rocket Ship,” another song that was popular in England but not in the U.S. The only other known live performance of the song is the February 2nd Boston show.
After three songs from Schoolboys In Disgrace, Ray tells the audience, “While I’m sitting down I’m going to do another song from the new LP Sleepwalker which is going to be released soon I think. It’s called ‘Brother.’ It’s an opus … People who hear this think I’ve written another queer song, but it’s a love song really.”
Another new song “Story Sky” follows as does the song about suicide “Life Goes On.” The audience reacts to the sly humor of the piece, confirming the fact that Boston rock audiences are among the best for being so knowable.
But the show builds up to “Lola,” their biggest hit. Ray orchestrates the audience’s participation, leading the women and men in singing the verses and chorus along with the band. There is some sort of commotion afterwards because after the small cut Davies can be heard saying “two more songs. We must. They want to stop us from playing.”
Their first hits “You Really Got Me” and “All Day And All Of The Night” close the show with “Money Talks” being the single encore.
The mid to late seventies were a great live period for The Kinks. It is right after the concept album period and before the massive popularity of One For The Road. Creatively, this is an amazing period, they were definitely on a roll.
The packaging is very basic and below the non-demanding standards set by the label. They use common black and white live shots of Ray Davies and a picture of the band sitting at a recording studio control desk on the back. It shows none of the imagination or effort of their Bob Dylan, Neil Young or Eric Clapton titles.
However, Sleepwalking In Boston is one of the very few Kinks silver bootlegs in circulation and, given the performance and sound quality, is extremely valuable.