In 1969, The Kinks played two evening concerts (8 PM and 11PM) on Saturday, December 6th., 1969 at the Hawk's Nest Club upstairs at le Coq d'Or Tavern in Toronto. The venue was located at 331 Yonge Street (on the east side of Yonge Street, just north of Dundas Street) and is now the site of the HMV shop. This was their first ever appearance in Canada. In fact they had been banned from playing in the USA since 1965 as a result of a decision by the Musicians Union. They had embarked on the USA tour in October of 1969 and Toronto was their only Canadian date on that tour. The first concerts on this tour were held at the Fillmore East in New York City on Friday, October 17th, and Saturday, October 20th.
￼ The line-up that December night in Toronto was Ray Davies (vocals and guitar), Dave Davies (guitar), Mick Avory (drums) and John Dalton on bass. Peter Quaife, the bass player and one of the founder members of The Kinks, had left the band in early 1969 to move to Denmark. He had been replaced by Dalton who oddly had also replaced him in 1966 when Quaife was sidelined following a car crash in England. Dalton had played with the Mark Four prior to that.
Pictured above left are The Kinks circa 1969. Clockwise from left are Ray Davies, Dave Davies, John Dalton, and Mick Avory. This photo was taken around the time of their 1969 LP "Arthur". Above right is Peter Quaife circa August 1968 (Village Green) who would later move to Canada in the early 1980s.
The concert was produced by "underground rock" radio station CHUM-FM but was not advertised in the Toronto daily newspapers. However, Toronto artist David Andoff created a cool poster for their Toronto shows and one or two of those have survived to this day. Andoff also would do some cool LP covers and posters for Toronto groups such as McKenna Mendelson Mainline.The following Kinks poster image is by courtesy of David Queenan (who I hope still owns the original poster) and Doug Hinman (who took the Polaroid picture of it all those years ago). Thanks also to Serge Pelletier for improving the image.
￼ Toronto rock journalist Peter Goddard attended one of the shows and wrote an interesting review for The Toronto Telegram. He pretty much nailed the fact that the band was "rusty" and demonstrated "some of the most fumble-fingered guitar playing around here in a long while". Chris Probert, later a music writer and reviewer for The Globe And Mail, also attended one of the two shows - most probably the later show - and recalled that the band appeared as though they had consumed "a large amount of alcohol before they hit the stage". According to Chris, this led to much "drunken falling about" on the Hawk's Nest stage. By this time, The Kinks were well in to their tour and perhaps were really enjoying their first visit to Canada.
The opening act was a local group called "Tractor" and the songs The Kinks played that evening are included in the following set list ... a set list cobbled together from the Goddard review, notes by Simply Saucer-man Edgar Breau from "The Pig Paper 3" (1977) and from other set lists from that late 1969 North American tour. The band had just released the Pye LP "Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire" and had issued their magnum opus Pye LP "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" in the previous year. It is not known whether either show was taped but further information would be appreciated.
1. Victoria (the opener from the Arthur LP) (Chris Probert, Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
2. All Day And All Of The Night (Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
3. The Last Of The Steam Powered Trains (from Village Green LP, Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
4. Waterloo Sunset (Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3, also mentioned in Peter Goddard review)
5. Sunny Afternoon (Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
6. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (mentioned in Peter Goddard review)
7. Milk Cow Blues 10 minute version (Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
8. You're Lookin' Fine 10 minute version (Edgar Breau - Pig Paper 3)
9. Mr. Churchill Says (from Arthur LP, possibly but not yet confirmed)
10. Big Sky (from Village Green LP, possibly but not yet confirmed)
11. You Really Got Me (possible encore but not yet confirmed)
The following two cool black and white pictures were taken at either the earlier or later show by Toronto musician "Nash The Slash" (aka Jeff Plewman). Jeff snapped these two unique photos himself and he captured the brothers Davies at their very best in live performance. These photos were taken from his excellent web site. Many thanks Jeff !
The following three images show the actual venue ... on the left is The Hawk's Nest club upstairs at Le Coq d'Or Tavern at 331 Yonge Street in Toronto.
Here is a cool old photo of Le Coq d'Or Tavern located at 331-333 Yonge Street just north of Dundas Street. This picture was taken in the 1950s before it became The Hawks Nest Club which was named after Ronnie Hawkins And The Hawks. It looked just like this when The Kinks played here in December 1969. The entrance to The Hawk's Nest was through the double doors at the right hand side in this photo. Photo by courtesy of City Of Toronto archives.
In 2011, The HMV Store is now located on the very same site.