I had heard about Ray’s tour of the UK via the official Genesis website forum and after a lengthy visit to Ray’s official website too, so I decided to check the guy out for myself.
I took along my better half with me also, after a confusing drive around Leamington Spa we finally found the venue (Another venue poorly sign posted). The tickets were quite a bargain for the show ahead as we later found out, only £15 each!!!
The merchandise that was available was good value for money, with the obligatory tour T shirt’s and the CD’s which were on offer in regard to a multi buy discount with the albums as well, although their were posters were being given away free some of which Ray gladly signed at the end of the show.
Time soon passed (after a chat with Ray’s manager) we found our seats and waited for the performance to begin. Whilst we sat comfortably you could hear tracks from Ray’s latest album She being played.
The lights dimmed and then Ray and the band stepped out onto the stage, Ray seemed very up beat and the band were firing on all cylinders whuch was all the more professional of them especially when you consider that although the venue seats 800, sadly only 150 people in were in attendance this evening and they missed out I can assure you.
Ray had chosen an interesting mix of songs this evening, ranging from Genesis to Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, along with his own thrown in for very good measure as well as a couple of Stiltskin songs (Ray couldnt not get away without playing Inside) and the beautiful Ghost from Ray’s CUT project as well.
Ray appeared very confident on stage, and he instantly put the audience at ease with his humour and stories most of which were very funny and or informative, which may have mentioned Tony Banks (with regard to The Calling All Stations tour and a light called George) or a story being told to him about something that went on during a Mike and the Mechanics tour during a tour of Bankok.
The gig lasted 2 hours 15 minutes with a 15 minute interval, Ray didn’t just pay tribute to any of the Genesis, Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins songs, he actually put his own spin on them slowing some down and or stripping them back to an almost MTV unplugged feel, whilst others he cracked the volume knobs to 11 and went hell for leather with an almost hard rock feel to I Cant Dance.
The sound and lighting for the show were impeccable, Ray had a backdrop (which was an image taken from the live rock album he had released) that the lighting could illuminate which seemed to set the mood for the show. The lighting changed and it was different on every song for example the stage was bathed in RED glow during Inside, and during the opening of Turn It On Again the stage was given a different feel with white landing lights strobeing in time to the beat.
The musicianship on stage was very professional and all of the band were able to show off there talents throughout the show tastefully, Ray is not only a singer but he knows his way around a guitar be it electric or acoustic and he can play a real harmonica on songs such as I Cant Dance which gave it a more authentic feel.
- Ray Wilson Vocals/Guitar/Mouth Organ,
- Ali Ferguson Lead/Rhythm Guitar,
- Laurie McMillan Bass Guitar,
- Ashley McMillan Drums and Percussion,
- Irvin Durgud Keyboards
Ray played a varied set list as follows,
- Calling All Stations
- The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
- Land of Confusion
- The Actor
- The Carpet Crawlers
- Another Day
- Games Without Frontiers
- In The Air Tonight
- Solsbury Hill
- Follow You Follow Me
- Not About Us
- Yellow Lemon Sun She
- I Can’t Dance
- Turn It On Again
- Lovers Leap
Ray rearranged some songs and gave them a very modern feel I think Ray may have given birth to a new genre “Acoustic Rock Fusion”.
Some audience members asked Ray if he would play Squonk or Horizons as an encore, instead Ray choose Shipwrecked (complete with a story) as well as a beautiful version of Lovers Leap and a very heavy if not sinister version of Mama.
Sadly time soon passed (Isn’t this always the case when your having fun) and sadly it was the end of the gig, Ray was received exceptionally well by an audience who more than made up for the lack of others in the venue.
All in all, I would go and see this guy and his band anytime. It was a really great night and Ray is a great artist, He even came out for a signing session and spoke with the fans and posed for photos as well.
For more information about Ray Wilson please visit raywilson.co.uk