Ray Davies and Elvis Costello at British Summer Time Hyde Park
With Elton John laid up with appendix issues, the headlining duties fell on Ray Davies and Elvis Costello at Hyde Park. And neither disappointed.
Taking the stage at exactly 7pm, Costello and his impossibly tight backing band, the Imposters, tore through an abbreviated set of his back catalogue as well as the R&B hits he’s become almost equally known for. Taking time for a few brief pauses, Costello led the crowd through a happy birthday sing-along for his 86-year-old mother and engaged in a Freddie Mercury style call-and-response with the entire park. The most energetic responses were for his material from This Year’s Model, with Radio Radio and set staple Pump It Up getting the early evening crowd ready for Ray Davies. He even slipped in a Purple Rain cover, which he promptly destroyed, but taking an extended ending with I Want You was the perfect way to set the tone for what was to come.
Eagerly running out on to the stage, Ray Davies and his band dubbed “Ray’s Imaginary Friends” played a hit parade of Kinks songs and the crowd ate it up. Davies was just as well to let the fans handle frontman duties, letting them sing the biggest choruses on Where Have All the Good Times Gone and easy highlight of the night Waterloo Sunset. Even with the sun down, Davies seemed to certainly be feeling the heat requiring four shirt changes for the band to take an extended cue on. Emerging finally in his iconic Union Jack blazer, he took a moment to honour his little brother and Kinks founding member, Dave Davies, citing: “without him, none of this would be possible”. Finally, he brought the house down, albeit expectedly, with Lola.
If you came to the show to have a nice evening and get entertained, Davies was certainly fitting. But if you wanted to see an artist who still has his vocal chops decades into his career and is still willing to take a few risks, then Costello was the choice for this show. Either way, not even Elton John’s illness could detract from what was certainly a great show.
For further information about Elvis Costello and future events visit here.
For further information about Ray Davies and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Purple Rain/Pump It Up here: