The Davies Reunion No One Saw Coming: What Does It Mean for the Kinks?

‘Tis the season, as they say. This time of year tends to bring people together, whether gladly or begrudgingly, but together all the same. It’s a time for giving, a time for joy, and a time for small miracles, if you believe in that sort of thing. Well I might be believing now.

On June 15, 1996, legendary English rock band The Kinks quietly, with no announcement or suspicion, performed their last concert as a band under that moniker in Oslo, Norway. Since then, the founding brothers Ray and Dave Davies, outside of their own personal health scares (Ray was shot in 2004, and Dave suffered a stoke later that year), have pursued solo careers. They tour separately, they record separately, and they both constantly hint at possible reunions in the media, each suggesting that the ball is in the other’s court. In 2014, in recognition of the band’s 5oth anniversary of their hit “You Really Got Me” landing on the charts, there was much speculation among fans that something was imminent as other bands of their generation had marked such milestones with tours, but hope quickly dissipated. This past year, the Davies duo have continued to busy themselves with individual projects; Dave has been touring the US for the third consecutive year since his return to live performances while brother Ray has had his hands full with the success of Sunny Afternoon, a few shows, and the supposed recording of his next solo album.

Last night, Dave Davies performed his final show of the year back in his hometown of London at the Islington Assembly Hall, backed by Jonathan Lea and Tom Currier of the Jigsaw Seen and Dennis Diken of the Smithereens. What fans expected was another rocking night like the one he had at the Barbican in 2014. What they didn’t expect was that the show’s final number, “You Really Got Me” would see Ray Davies join his younger sibling onstage. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the brothers performed live for a very lucky group of fans.

So for Kinks fans, Christmas has come a little early in what is very nearly a miracle. While it wasn’t really a Kinks reunion, as drummer Mick Avory was absent as well as the many other former members of the band, to see the brothers together onstage being so cordial is the greatest gift Kinks fans could have asked for to conclude the year. As an unapologetically rabid Kinks fan, I felt so many emotions as the news broke across social media, from absolute amazement and delight, to sadness and envy (why wasn’t I there?!?!), and even a bit of anger (what if this never happens again and I’ve missed it???).

Of course the big question on everyone’s mind now is, “What does this mean?” Fans have now been launched into a frenzy of optimism as years of rumor and doubt have morphed into possibility and hope. If they can finally put aside their differences for one song, that could lead to more songs, and an album, and a tour!

Whoa there.

Now believe me, as someone who was too young to have seen the Kinks when they were together, there’s nothing I’d like more than to see the band officially reunite and go on tour. I’d be willing to pay top dollar for that, despite my student loans. It would be an absolute dream come true. But it was one song, one night, and after years of teasing the media with hints and inertia, I’m not quite ready to truly believe that this is the ultimate sign of a truce or progress. And the brothers haven’t made any definite statements on their future either at the show or in it’s wake today, other than Dave expressing his pleasure with the gig.

Now I hope I don’t sound like a party pooper. I’m just taking everything one step at a time. While neither brother has made any definite plans for 2016 yet, both have mentioned their various individual activities and projects throughout the year in any number of interviews. And we don’t know how Mick Avory or any other Kink member fit into the hypothetical equation. We just have to hope their projects leave some room for another miracle, and that we don’t have to wait until next Christmas to find out.

(P.S. – Ray and Dave, if you read this, my birthday is in August. Just sayin’…)


About Jen Cunningham 46 Articles
Jen Cunningham is an editor in the puzzle-publishing industry, an amateur artist, and Anglophile hailing from New York. She was raised on good ol' British rock and the smell of vinyl records. When she's not working, she enjoys going to concerts, playing tabletop games, and making unfortunate puns.