I’m not in love, but I’m open to persuasion
I arrived in Jersey 35 years ago today – just in time to watch Borg beat Connors in five sets in the Wimbledon singles final. At much the same time, back in Birmingham, a black girl was having a smash hit called Love and Affection. Joan Armatrading had arrived in Brum with the early wave of West Indian immigrants and was brought up in Stechford, just up the road from me – not of course that I realised that until later.
Yesterday evening Armatrading arguably stole the show from the headline act Ray Davies. She is by now of course a legend of British music and she has a firm following in Jersey. No fuss or frills, baggy trousers and an old top with butterflies on it. But she is a performer who radiates enjoyment and endears herself to her audiences. Yesterday evening she alternated between her back catalogue and some of her new stuff, all of which was well received. I must admit I didn’t realise that she could rock hard and loud as well as captivating the audience with her soulful stuff. Starlight is the title track of the new album and it was well received. But of course All The Way From America, Me Myself I, Drop The Pilot, Call Me Names and her signature song went down best. Versatility is her game and she and her excellent band blasted through their last two numbers leaving me dazzled and in need of a steadying pint. Brilliant from the Brummie chick.
By 1977 by comparison The Kinks had had their glory days. They plodded on before disbanding in the ’90s. Now amazingly 68, Ray Davies reprises those glory days with his own band. And does he do it with panache. He let it rip last night with energy and loudness, goading the Jersey audience into greater clapping, waving and singing efforts. Where Have All The Good Times Gone opened the show. All Day And All Of The Night, See My Friends, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, Sunny Afternoon, Dead End Street and others followed. The gorgeous Waterloo Sunset was done as an acoustic break from the rocking. I was puzzled as he sang the wimpy Kirsty McColl song Days until learning it is in fact a Davies composition – I listen to it with new ears.
I thought his best song of the night was 20th Century Man , and Davies ended a great set with the deadly You Really Got Me which will once again have sent some local residents scurrying for the telephone even though both evenings finished bang on 10 o’clock, but that’s Jersey.
A great two days. Ticket sales weren’t as high as expected but, if the promoters do it again this festival is destined for repeated success.