Robby Krieger. A Concert Review…..
Last night, Miss Ruth and I were sitting 30 feet from an icon. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robby Krieger kicked off his “Doors Greatest Hits” tour in Collingswood NJ. When you get the opportunity to see someone in the upper echelon of rock some 45 years after their pinnacle of fame, a part of you wonders will he still be able to bring it.
The answer here is a resounding yes! His guitar work last night ranged from fantastic to jaw dropping to mesmerizing. Ruth and I shared two major concerns prior to last night’s show. One, were they going to be able to replace the musical inventiveness of Ray Manzarek and two, were they going to be able to find a solid lead singer. We didn’t kid ourselves. A voice like Jim Morrison’s only comes around once in a lifetime so you can’t replace him. What they did, however, was very effective.
Robby’s son Waylon handled the lead vocals and instead of doing some sort of lame Morrison impression, he just used his own exceptional voice. And it totally worked. Nathan Wilmarth on the keyboards did a very solid job at channeling one of my musical heroes. The rest of the killer band, Phil Chen on bass (even though The Doors never had a bass player. Astonishingly, Manzarek handled the bass lines on the lower end of the keyboard) and Ty Dennis on drums, did the legend of The Doors proud. They opened with the unmistakable samba beat on “Break On Through to The Other Side” and rolled through a good portion of The Doors eclectic catalogue including almost half of the tracks from their seminal debut album, “The Doors” .
This was such a great approximation of one of rock’s greatest bands, I’m sure they were both looking down and as smiling almost big as Ruth and I were. For Ruth and I, the highlight of the evening was the final 3 songs of the show. “LA Woman”, “Soul Kitchen” and “Light My Fire”. The energy and musicianship that was on display for those 3 songs was straight up amazing. Robby even threw a little Rogers and Hammerstein (“My Favorite Things”) into his extended solo in “Light My Fire”. Despite the absence of Ray (he passed 4 years ago) and Jim (he joined the Dead Poets Society in 1971), this was such a great approximation of one of rock’s greatest bands.
I’m sure they were both looking down and smiling.
Almost as big as Ruth and I were.