Written by / 5/20/2013 / 3 Comments / , , , ,

DEDICATION TO RAY MANZAREK: ARCHIVE 2009 CONCERT REVIEW

REST IN PEACE RAY MANZAREK
I don't think Jim Morrison, the singer, is overrated. As a lead vocalist, combining blues and rock and something otherwordly, I think he's quite underrated, actually. Same goes with his poetry and lyrics... But as a legendary sex symbol: his shirtless image outshining the other members of THE DOORS on posters, books, posthumous album covers, etc., he's overrated... That is, as a  "sexy rock star" his persona has pretty much taken over...

Either that Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore are underrated, not only as musicians in general but as members of this iconic band whose input equalled Morrison, especially guitarist/songwriter Robbie Krieger and the man who really opened the doors of the mind, organ-grinding maestro Ray Manzarek.
REVIEW OF THE CONCERT AT THE GROVE IN ANAHEIM CALIFORNIA 2009
Well I got a chance to see two outta three, Robby and Ray... and now it's confirmed: not only is their part in THE DOORS legacy just as important as Morrison but they can still play... INCREDIBLY. The bassist and drummer were good and the "replacement singer" had a nasally voice and looked more like Horseshack from "Welcome Back Kotter" than The Lizard King, but this was okay (and perhaps intentional)... he wasn't trying to replace Morrison but was simply carrying the vocals so Robby and Ray could do their stuff. 

The peak of the set was Krieger's unbelievable five minute flamenco guitar solo, which then lead to an awesome "Spanish Caravan." Ray took the role as MC, talking between songs (sounding like the plant in the eighties film version of "Little Shop of Horrors") and sometimes even during them; instigating people to get high during "Break On Through" and to revive the Summer of Love in 2010 before "Light My Fire": which, he reminded the audience at least five times, was written entirely by Krieger. 
Ray Manzarek with Gregory Hines in William Friedkin's DEAL OF THE CENTURY
Both R's look pretty aged (Ray with spiky gray hair and Robby looking more like "Seafelt" from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" than his former "twin," comic Steven Wright) but both still have the same stage presence and haven't slowed down as performers: Ray the concentrative crouching praying mantis over the keys while Robby paints wonderfully weaving pictures with his Gibson SG.

"When The Music's Over" was a highlight, carrying a ton of lighting bolt/thunder clap intensity; "The Changeling," a romping blues dirge, was a sweet surprise; "The Soft Parade" was perhaps the only "let's head to the bathroom song" (the singer forgetting some of the lyrics); "Back Door Man," "Break On Through," "Waiting for the Sun," "Peace Frog," "Blue Sunday" and "L.A. Woman" were wonderfully tight and vividly amazing; while "Love Me Two Times," "Love Her Madly," "Touch Me" and "Light My Fire" were passable... but still quite a treat. 

Bummer they didn't do "Riders On The Storm" (Ray's pivotal raindrops would have sounded very sweet in a live venue) or "Roadhouse Blues" (both were on the set-list, which was stolen from the stage by a friend of mine SECONDS after the band left the stage)... but overall it was an incredible show.
Ray Manzarek being filmed by Jim Morrison
Great friend Ashley Cordelia and Ray Manzerek
And now as I write this on the day of the death of Ray Manzarek, four years after writing that review and I remember about twenty years earlier still, in 1987, sitting in the parking lot that was crowded with hippies at Irvine Meadows, California where The Grateful Dead show would happen the following day...

I was very loaded on the same psychedelic drug that The Doors created their music to...

And as the organ solo played during the album version of LIGHT MY FIRE some hippie guy, around forty years old and looking like one of Dr. Teeth's backup musicians had he doubled as a stoned librarian, was feeling each note as if it were coming up from the Earth...

And I too felt that way and sure, alright, maybe it was the drug... but Lawrence Welk wouldn't have hit the spot that night, that minute, that moment, that instant...

Goodbye Ray, and thanks for the lightning bolts... Although they went too fast for my brain sometimes... Like years before that Dead show when I peaked in my bedroom to the speedy ALIVE SHE CRIED version of LIGHT MY FIRE and I had to turn off the record during Ray's section, lay on my bed, listen to an Eddie Murphy standup cassette tape to come back to Earth... But that was my own fault... You always kept your end of the bargain... I quit that stupid drug in 1990 but your music still (and always) remained... Later Daze!
Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger
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3 comments:

  1. Nice!

    Ray Manzarek was a huge influence on me musically and the Doors are one of my favorite bands and STRANGE DAYS top five albums of all-time.

    I unfortunately never got to see any version of the Doors live (except for seeing the cover band Wild Child a couple times and my band opening up for Wild Child at the Whiskey oh so long ago - which was an awesome show). I wish I could have seen the Doors when Ian Astbury from the Cult was singing with them - to me that sounded as close as you were going to get to Jim.

    I listen to the Doors as much as always have if not more so.

    My musical hero, inspiration...RIP Ray.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i can't believe i admitted ray's keyboards caused a near freak out on LDS (Star Trek inside joke) but since that is behind me I can fess up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've admitted too many things on the interwebs. It was a great story though Jim. I dug it.

    ReplyDelete

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