The Kinks – Old Damon Alcohol (Vintage Masters Premium VM010AB)

Old Damon Alcohol (Vintage Masters Premium VM010AB)

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA – February 18th, 1977 (early show)

Disc 1 (45:48):  One Of The Survivors, Sleepwalker, Rush Hour Blues, You Make It All Worthwhile, Ordinary People, Everybody’s A Star (Starmaker), Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset, Celluloid Heroes, Schooldays, instrumental, The Hard Way

Disc 2 (49:11):  Education, Stormy Sky, Band Introduction, Life Goes On, Full Moon, Lola, Alcohol, You Really Got Me~All Day And All Of The Night, Life On The Road

When The Kinks released Sleepwalker at the end of February 1977 it marked a change in direction for the band.  In a move that was concession to both punk and their new record label Arista, the new album was a return to more short, self-contained songs instead of the lengthy, convoluted rock operas of the previous five.

The early part of the tour had several opportunities to promote the new album.  The Kinks appeared on “Saturday Night Night” in New York on February 26th, and taped the Santa Monica show for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour two months later on April 26th. 

The first appearance of material from this radio broadcast can be found on the 2LP set You Really Got Me which had “One Of The Survivors,” “Sleepwalker,” “Waterloo Sunset,” “A Well Respected Man,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “School Days” and “Life Goes On.” 

These tracks were duplicated on two early CD titles, Alcohol (Genschman GENSCH1006 CD) and Celluloid Heroes (Great Live Records GLR 9245/46).  The Queen Of The Bitches (Lobster LOB 25) is another CD with some tracks from Santa Monica, documenting “Sleepwalker,” “A Well Respected Man,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.”

Old Damon Alcohol is sourced from the Wolfgang’s Vault download and seems to be the first release of the entire show.  The sound is excellent although a bit soft and there a few very minor cuts on the tape between some songs.

The tape starts off at the very beginning of “One Of The Survivors” from Preservation Act 1.  The first new song of the set is the title track “Sleepwalker.”  While making the opening introductions Ray Davies sings a bit of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” a recurring motif in this show and on this tour.  He’ll make some more, but it never develops into a full blown version of the song. 

In the first half of the show they play a four song suite from Soap Opera, from “Rush Hour Blues” to “Everybody’s A Star (Starmaker).”  They are played out of order, but have much more energy than on the previous live appearances.

Davies teases the audience with  the opening notes of “Lola” before “Well Respected Man,” a little gag he’ll continue throughout the show before actually playing his biggest hit. 

“Schooldays,” “The Hard Way” and “Education” are the only songs from the previous album Schoolboys In Disgrace played in the set.  The instrumental interlude between “Schooldays” and “The Hard Way” is a ninety-second tune beginning with arena rock power chords and is dominated by the Hammond organ. 

Afterwards they play several more songs from the new album.  After introducing the band, and speaking about the next song “Life Goes On,” Ray asks the audience, “had anyone committed suicide?”  Before “Full Moon” intones about his insomnia and watching Ronald Reagan films on TV.

Before their biggest hit (which Ray insists he wrote) “Lola” he instructs the audience in the sing-along he wants to hear during the song.  They audience are very quiet and fall apart during the first chorus.  Davies stops and scolds them:  “Here I am, in the high of  my career and nobody wants to sing along.  You sound like The Kinks” he then jokes.  

The medley of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day And All Of The Night” closes the set and the new song “Life On The Road” closes the show.  The following night in San Francisco had “Victoria” as a second encore, but it sounds from the tape, and also because this is an early show, this show has only one.  Old Damon Alcohol, since it’s the only release with the complete Santa Monica show, is necessary for every Kinks collector and is highly recommended.      

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