date: October 9th/2009
venue: The Grove, Anaheim
rating: *****

I don't think Jim Morrison, the singer, is overrated. As a singer I think he's underrated. As a sex symbol - his shirtless image outshining the other members of THE DOORS on posters, books, etc., he's overrated... either that or guitarist Robby Krieger, organist Ray Manzerek and drummer John Densmore are underrated, not only as musicians but as members of this iconic band. 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 (as expected), 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. 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 (many of them actually). "When The Music's Over" was a highlight, carrying a ton of lighting bolt/thunder clap intensity; "The Changeling" was a sweet surprise; "The Soft Parade" was perhaps the only "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 colorful; 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" 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.

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