Ithaca Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ray Davies's Wink

Ray Davies was at the State Theater last night, and put on a magnificent show. It was the last show of the tour and, so, maybe his last concert ever in America.

I realized last night that he is the only guy who can write a wistful song that I can stand. Generally they are in the form of stories, so they are not about him, so they are not poor-me songs. Also, they are not strictly sad. The characters have hope, although often inspired by delusion. But this is portrayed as better than despair.

Of course, Ray Davies is also funny, and he did a minute manoeuvre last night that floored me; it was so slight, but huge to me.

I had completely forgotten about this thing, from each time I had seen him before, ranging back 30 years.  After playing a lead on guitar, he will flick his pick up and away from himself, with his thumb, maybe two or three feet or so, and then snatch it back from mid-air in his fist. No big deal, but try doing it.

He maybe does it once all night. It is not a theatrical move, like Roger Daltrey twirling his microphone forty feet in the air and catching it. Ray's thing is a parlor trick. Or just a wink. He does it to amuse himself. And you, if you are watching.

I was. Thanks, Ray.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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