Charged with sensuous prose, a bluesy grit, and a psychedelic soundscape, L.A. band, The Doors will forever be known as one of the most revolutionary rock n’ roll bands of the late sixties.
In center, was lead singer Jim Morrison, a young UCLA film student and aspiring poet at the time. Together, with lead guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore, and organist Ray Manzarek, they would produce one of the most ominous sounds in all of blues rock.
Morrison, with an intellect that plunged into mysticism, philosophy and fine arts, lived an erratic, exploratory lifestyle which he reflected in the themes of his music. The eccentric Morrison, was known as the “Wild Child” or “The Lizard King”, because of his thespian manner and leaning towards avant-garde performance. Morrison’s impulses were so unpredictable that no one, including The Doors, would ever know what he would think of next. The band was considered unconventional and much different from the surf-rock or hippie pop acts of the time. Since the release of their first album in 1967, The Doors have released nine albums, each one pushing the limits of what music defines.
Last Friday, guitarist Robby Krieger and his band stopped at Scout Bar in Baytown, Texas, to play some classic Doors songs one more time. The evening began promptly at 8 p.m. with two opening acts, the acoustic stylings of local artist Andy Cortez, and local alternative rock band, Rainchild. Around 10:15 pm, the crowd had just enough liquor in their bellies to get the vibes loose and hungry for music. Little did the crowd know, the show was just about to start.
As the show’s sound engineers came out to tune and refine last minute performance prep, I could feel myself getting antsy. I couldn’t believe that I was about to witness a living legend perform. Out of the blue, the show began. “Ladies and Gentleman, from Los Angeles, California, the Robby Krieger band!”
It was at this moment when the band took the stage so genuinely and with a friendly hello. They commenced the set with an all -time classic, “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”. The audience went wild. Fans screamed the lyrics along side the band, finishing the last phrase in the song, “She Get High!” It was as if the spirit of Jim Morrison himself had risen from the ashes to ignite the stage once again, only this time, through the spirit of the crowd.
The story was set, the setting was surreal, and the ride had only just begun. Through the night, Robby and the band kept unwinding tune after tune. Classic songs like, “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)”,”Backdoor Man”, and “Love me Two Times”. By the fifth song, guest singer Waylon Krieger, Robby’s son, introduced the rest of the members on tour: Ty Dennis on Drums, Phil Chen on Bass, and Nathan Wilmarth on the keyboards.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was when Robby Krieger, paused a moment to reflect on the years that have passed. Being 70 years old, and having lived during such chaotic times, one can only imagine the stories of what he’s seen. He went on to tell the story of how he and Jim met, and mentioned how a young Jim Morrison even lived in Houston for some time. “This next song, I dedicate to Jim, because without him none of us would even be here.” The words shook the ground, as there was a deep silence followed by a charged uproar from the crowd. “All hail, the Lizard King!”, they said. Instantly, the keyboards chimed with the sticky riff of The Door’s 1967 single, “Moonlight Drive”, a special treat for Doors fans.
In retrospect, the night was a great turnout. The band ended their set with fan favorite, “Light My Fire”. The 3 minute instrumental, accompanied by Krieger’s guitar solo, shined like the light rays of a dying sun. Awe-struck and bewildered of what I had witnessed, my eyes followed the band as they walked off the stage. Fans of all ages, with Doors records in hand, were eager for an autograph. However, just as the band came in, they were gone like the wind. The Doors always had a quiet mystique about them, and so it shall remain in the pages of rock history.
By Franco Rosa