Tuesday Tunes: The Kinks Live at Kelvin Hall

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I may have said this before, but if I had a time machine, I would go back to the 60s to experience the Mini Cooper and The Kinks first time round. However, until I bang my head and suddenly realise the secret of the flux capacitor, I will have to settle for my ’96 Mini and this CD.

Live at Kelvin Hall is not a great Kinks album; it’s not even the best live Kinks album, but it is very much a product of its time – and therein lies it’s greatness. This is the Kinks of the early 60s; part boy band, part proto-punks, what should be a raucous opening with Till The End Of The Day is almost drowned out by the screaming fans – how much of this is down to the quality of the original recording is no doubt lost to history by now, but it certainly lends the album a teen idol feel.

We are then treated to some of the band’s more narrative numbers, including Well Respected Man and the still popular Sunny AFternoon, which along with I’m On An Island hints at the more lyrical, less full on direction the Kinks would soon take – although, even much later in their career, the band would still turn everything up to 11 for You Really Got Me, which appeares here as the penultimate track.

Apart from getting the crowd to sing along to Sunny Afternoon and some other odd bits of crowd banter, there’s nothing spectacular here. The selection of songs is an interesting cross-section of the band’s catlogue up to that point, which at least a few songs that don’t turn up on every cheap greatest hits CD (of which there are many). The final medley is quite fun, in which Milk Cow Blues segues into the then contemporary Batman theme followed by Tired Of Waiting; as variable as this recording is, I think it has probably aged with more dignity than the 60s TV Batman.

The CD version allows you the dubious pleasure of listening to the Mono Album followed by the Stereo Album; both are just as rough around the edges, but an interesting look back into genre history, and a peek into the popularity of the Kinks at their peak. Well ok, maybe this is just one for the dedicated fans nowadays.

Stand-out tracks: Medley: Milk Cow Blues/Batman Theme/Tired Of Waiting/Milk Cow Blues.

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