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    Ray Wilson live @ Radio Konin

    Ray played an acoustic trio show for a Polish radio station


    On 15th August on 15:00, after a five year break, Radio Konin came back. The date wasn’t accidental – that time, 18 years ago, this radio was actually set up and what’s more it was the first station available in this region. Of course the management wanted to celebrate this event and asked Ray Wilson whether he could do a show for them. The answer was obvious – this was a perfect chance of promoting both radio and the artist. Once the date had been announced, the whole city was full of posters advertising Ray Wilson’s acoustic concert planned for 3rd October 2010. During the radio broadcast you were able to hear some of Ray’s songs like Propaganda Man. There were also competitions in which you could win double invitations for the show.

    Few days before the show, Ray cancelled two shows in Germany due to his voice and throat problems. He came to his home in Poznań and started a treatment which included taking antibiotics. Luckily, a Genesis Klassik gig on 2nd October took place (about 5000 people came to see it!) and I became peaceful about the show in Konin. However Bartek (Polish Ray’s manager) told me that Ray won’t sing Calling All Stations till December just to fully cure his voice. The last information that was revealed before the show was that it was going to be broadcast live on Radio Konin. It is said that this concert had an audience even in Chicago.

    1As this gig was the last acoustic show in Poland this year, many fans from all over the country wanted to see it, so Ewa, head of Polish Ray Wilson’s fan club organized a meeting in Palacyk Cafeteria, near the venue where concert was to be played. During the meeting the greetings list for Ray and wedding/birthday present for Ray’s manager with wishes to newlyweds were signed by everyone.
    When we reached our destination I was quite happy to see that most of us had seats in the first row and this was my first Ray’s acoustic show so I couldn’t be more excited or happy. Ray, Filip and Steve came on the stage and they started with the title track from Ray’s first solo albumChange. I couldn’t imagine a better start, this is one of my favourite songs despite the years. Then a tune that made women come to Genesis concerts – Follow You, Follow Me. Not a song I am fan of, but after that came Shipwrecked with a fantastic solo by Filip Wałcerz at the beginning. It sounded much better than the traditional version played on Genesis Klassik shows and I really loved it.

    2Before Razorlite, Ray gave a short speech: “Apparently, they (Radio Konin) had a vacation for 5 years, which happens… I had a vacation once – I think it lasted about five minutes. I don’t like holidays, you know”. Then an old Genesis song originally sang by Peter Gabriel – Carpet Crawlers and a short story: “As some people know, I started in bands when I was 13 years old, quite along time ago now… maybe about 10 years. And my first band was a punk band and I loved it I have to say. (…) And very sadly the bass player in the band killed himself when he was young, he shot himself and I wrote this song for him, many years later. I tried to write it in a positive way if you can write something positive about something so tragic but I tried to imagine that he had gone to a better place. It’s called Another Day”. This particular track with this moving story made the audience sit silent till it ended. Just to change the mood they played Jesus He Knows Me which met up with a big applause.This song in acoustic versions sounds so different from the Genesis Klassik shows as well and I think it was calmer and for me much better. Just to keep with this unique atmosphere they played another three great tracks and my personal favourites: Lemon Yellow Sun from the She album, a song from “probably the best Genesis member” Another Day In Paradise which as always was stunning and one of those tunes that sound million times better live than on the album – Propaganda Man with perfect Filip Wałcerz piano solo in accompaniment with Ray and Steve acoustic guitars – this part varies from Ray Wilson & Stiltskin shows where electric guitar is used by Ali Ferguson. I don’t claim that Steve doesn’t fit here, but those two versions are completely different.

    3Then a complete surprise: Beach! We were all shocked by hearing this song live. It made a mysterious climate which was soon broken by next track – Genesis’ That’s All. I always loved this song just from the first time I heard it and I have to say, both Collins’ and Wilson’s version are great. I don’t have my own favourite. Worth mentioning is that this song met again with an enormous applause. Even when Ray and the band started playing Sarah the audience was still clapping their hands. Before the next song Ray told us another story: “To my left here is my brother Steve Wilson ladies and gentlemen. (Applause starts, after few seconds) OK, that’s enough! (laughs) Hahaha, it worked! Steve was the reason I started singing. I told you that I was in a punk band when I was 13 but before that Steve was singing in a rock band (…) and he was up there singing and I was sitting in the audience in school a little bit like this tonight you know, the same idea, watching Steve and I was really pissed of because girls were looking at him you know, admiring him… (Applause)  Oh, only two or three (laughs). And I thought, this has to stop, so I started singing because of Steve. So I am gonna get him to sing a song right now, so ladies and gentlemen, my idol – Steve Wilson!” What can I say about Steve’s performance of U2’s One? You wouldn’t be surprised because I think it was great. What’s more I am convinced that he did better than the last time I heard him singing this song, during the Rock May Festival in Skierniewice on Ray Wilson & Stiltskin concert. “I’d like to play a song for you that I actually wrote here in Poland, when I came here. And as you can maybe imagine when I was younger I didn’t really expect that when I got to the age of 39 or 40 that I would be living in Poland. But I am… and you know, it’s been really great, I have to say. I’ve really enjoyed being here. And I wrote this song really about that whole experience of leaving one world and entering into another and I’ve obviously started my new relationship with Gosia and stuff. This is the song about all that experience.” For me it was clear that it would be On The Other Side from last Ray’s solo album – Propaganda Man, and it was. I have to admit that I have to hear it live to like it. Then another song from Genesis member’s solo career – Mike Rutherford’s famous Another Cup of Coffee. Some say that it sounds better than the original but as in case of Phil Collins and Ray Wilson, I am not able to tell you which for me is better. And another classics – Land of Confusion and Inside. Their acoustic versions played on this show were just phenomenal. The last song of the show was The Airport Song, but was it really? When Ray, Steve and Filip disappeared the audience started to chant and it gave the result. They came back on stage and started with Peter Gabriel’s cover – Solsbury Hill. Then song from the last Stiltskin albumConstantly Reminded, again the piano part at the beginning was fantastic. Ray ended with a song that he had recorded with lead singer of Budka Suflera, famous Polish rock band set up in 1969 after the concert in Stargard Szczecinski on 18th June, 2010 were they met. It turned out that Krzysztof Cugowski was a big Ray’s fan so he was invited to Poznan to the recording studio. It ended with a new version of Calling All Stations song – Not About Us.

    5As usual after the concert any fan was able to talk with Ray and get his autogram or take a photo with him. But for me he seemed a bit busy. I think he still could feel not really well after his illness. During the talk with him and his manager I received some information. I started with asking about Guaranteed Pure albums, Ray agreed that there were two studio albums and one live album but he didn’t remember any details apart from his opinion that they were bad. He told me to ask Steve about that. I have to quote Christian about Ray’s attitude about Guaranteed Pure: “I think he is embarrassed of those albums” and he seems to be right. That’s a shame because I told Ray that Wish I Was At Home Tonight for me is a really wonderful track for an acoustic show. He replied: “I’d have to rewrite the lyrics, ‘cos my life has changed.” Obviously, I finally asked Ray about the Jägermeister. He told me that he didn’t drink it anymore because he lives now in Poland, so he drinks now vodka… from France (Grey Goose). We told him that we are planning to go to Poznan in December and give him a Jägermeister as a Christmas present and he said: “On Christmas I think I can drink Jägermeister…” 

    Ray's manager was asked about the new album. He told me that by now they have 10 demo recordings and if they wouldn’t be able to do the full Stiltskin album, they would do “The best of Ray Wilson” album and add to it some new songs. Bartek also told me, when he heard that we are planning to be in Poznan, that this gig may be recorded for a Genesis Klassik DVD. That would be nice. The last thing I asked him was the cooperation with Polish pop singer Patrycja Markowska, a daughter of a famous rock band Perfect lead singer – Grzegorz Markowski. He said that people from their label wanted to make a commercial version of Constantly Reminded where Ray would sing in English, and Patrycja in Polish. The word “commercial” made Ray to refuse the offer and I personally believe that it was the right choice. We all want Ray to do what he loves doing, not looking at the pop charts or money. 


    article and photos by Maciek Soroczynski

    Ray Wilson


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