Flashback Blog: Celebrate: The Doors of the 21st Century

Manzarek, Krieger, Astbury
Ian Astbury with Manzarek and Krieger. He did a good job.

Tonight, I will be hanging with Hawk, drinking and playing strategy games. No, really.

So in honor of that, and the fact that I’m still mid–migration to get the rats off the sinking starwars.com ship, I’m posting this quaint review of a short–lived phenom: the Doors “reunion” that happened, which that dick Densmore ended for the rest of us.

Please be clear that it’s not that I’m defending Manzarek, just that I’m sorry to see that something that was good, that was the one chance a fan like me had to approximate the experience of seeing The Doors “for real” was crushed.

Also, at a past behest of The Clone, this tempts me to write authoritatively about my life–long love affair with The Doors’ music, which has only gotten richer and more meaningful with age.

And for the record, I have no memory of the woman who was flirting with me. But you know, they all blur over time.

Flashback Blog: Celebrate: The Doors of the 21st Century

Originally published on blogs.starwars.com/kesseljunkie on August 10, 2005

Ewok celebration
I chose this pic at the time because it was the only one approximating how I felt that night. Though I don’t remember any particularly short people. (Copyright Lucasfilm, 1983, or 1997, when I think they renewed the film copyright with the Special Editions)

Okay, so I break form here and talk about something other than Star Wars. I just put the Star Wars picture in because…well, it’s about celebration.

Last night, I had the privilege of seeing “The Doors of the 21st Century” at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. I went in with some pretty low expectations, mainly because I was curious, and the Doors have always been my favorite band. On top of that, it was a good excuse to get out of the house and hang out with my best friend of 17 years, Mike.

I was shocked. Not only was the show satisfying, it was great. I stopped going to concerts for tons of reasons, not the least of them being that for money spent, you don’t get the quality entertainment you should. I have never regretted seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, but now that they are asking $500 for some tickets?

For $500, I had better not see just the band, I had better have a religious/sexual enlightenment that guarantees me a ticket to heaven and permanent…well, you know.

But I digress.

For those of you not fortunate enough to live near DC, the 9:30 Club is a terrific venue for seeing a band – it’s small and cramped (“intimate”) and there isn’t a bad spot in the house. So, for your money, you are actually just a stone’s throw from the band, no matter what time you get to the show.

This really helped them. “The Doors,” and in particular “The Doors of the 21st Century” are not a stadium-rock band. Their spectacle is for close quarters.

The people there ran the gamut of types. There were young kids who have latched onto the music as a way of coping with the pressures of being a teenager (been there). There were older people who were reliving old memories of the band the first time around (not yet me). Then, the bulk of the crowd was made of thirtysomethings that just fell victim to the curious question, “How can they manage without Morrison?” (me).

Ian Astbury, singing for the band, evoked enough Jim Morrison to make it respectful, while showing his own style. He did not sing in imitation of Jim, but rather in the style of Jim – which is what made the show. Had he just imitated the legend, he would have blown it.

Ray Manzarek proved the real ringleader, which I suppose he always has been. He might not be Ray Charles, but he really can’t be replaced. He is a funny guy, even if he seems incapable of leaving the 1960s.

The drummer (I forget his name right now) proved something I have always suspected – that Densmore, for all his talent, is eminently replaceable. I really enjoyed the drumming – it was energetic and forceful, without dominating the rest of the show. It was perfect.

The most pleasant surprise of the evening was Robbie Krieger, who proved once and for all that he is the most underrated guitarist in the history of Rock. He may have aged, but his talent is still young and fresh; it was some of the best live guitar work I have ever heard; and I’ve seen Eddie Van Halen four times. It was as good as that.

So, at the end of it all, my ears are still ringing and I’m tired. There’s stiffness in my bones and I have to go to work in an office instead of running around like a wild child. But for one glorious evening, we were all young and everything was possible.

Thanks to the band for giving us a great show. I hope that someone reads this blog and decides to see you when you pass through their town.

Thanks to the woman who hit on me all night long. It’s always flattering. But I’m married, so flattery is all you get back.

Thanks, finally, to my buddy Mike – who has always been my companion through thick and thin – for suggesting this adventure and making it happen. For one more night, walked the earth as younger men.


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