Ray Manzarek, Bobby Krieger.
Whether you thought last year’s Tel Aviv performance of The Doors music by the
Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger Band was an inspired blast from the past or
simply a polished tribute band boasting some extra credibility by having two
original members may have depended on your age.
If you were old enough to
have been around when the famed Los Angeles band brought danger, sex and
revolution to pop radio in the 1960s, led by the volcanic vocals and chiseled
looks of Jim Morrison, then it’s likely that keyboardist Manzarek, guitarist
Krieger, augmented by Morrison look- and sound-alike David Brock and a topnotch
rhythm section of drummer Ty Dennis and bassist Phil Chen, turned back the clock
with their faithful and spirited renditions of staples like “Light My Fire,”
Touch Me,” “Love Me Two Times” and “Roadhouse Blues.”
“If you closed your
eyes, it sounded like the band back in 1969,” said Alon Bendat, 55, a Jerusalem
resident who attended last July’s sold-out show at Hangar 11. Although he was
too young to have seen the band in its original incarnation, which came to an
end when Morrison died of a heart attack in Paris in 1971 at age 27, he had
grown up with their music on the radio and their message of anarchy and
questioning authority in his face.
However, if you grew up in the era
when every band and its sister – from Guns & Roses to NSync – have been
saddled with decent to awful tribute groups, then the reaction may have been
different.The Jerusalem Post’s review of the show
by relative youngster
Elana Kirsh stated that “though Jim Morrison look-alike Dave Brock did a decent
job as front man, there was no avoiding the fact that something or, more
accurately, someone was missing. Coming off as something of a dark, aged cover
band, the group may have fit in better at a crowded pub, especially when they
invited the Israeli winner of a Jim Morrison impersonator competition to perform
‘Love Me Two Times’ on stage with the band.”
The Doors as a karaoke band?
Jim Morrison may or not be rolling in his Paris grave where, in early July, the
41st anniversary of his death will be commemorated by pilgrims who regularly
flock to the cemetery where he lies.
Another factor in how much
Morrison’s absence mars the effect of the latter- day Doors revue is whether it
was Morrison’s persona and vocals that grabbed the imagination or the inventive,
almost jazz-like groove and interplay provided by organist Manzarek and
guitarist Krieger, who were joined by drummer John Densmore, who allegedly will
have nothing to do with the revamped group.
“As the keyboard player, I
would think that the music might have had something to do with it [their
success],” Manzarek told The Jerusalem Post before the group’s first visit to
the country last year. “ I think that without songs like ‘Light My Fire, ‘Riders
on the Storm’ and LA Woman,’ we wouldn’t be worshiping Jim the way we
Whether you subscribe to the stance that the Manzarek-Krieger Band
represents the continuing legacy of The Doors or that they’re no different than
a Kiss cover band, it’s clear that people still care about the band and its
music. Otherwise, the 73-year-old Manzarek and the 67-year-old Krieger wouldn’t
be able to tour steadily around the world with their Doors
Vocalist Brock’s uncanny similarities to Morrison notwithstanding,
Manzarek’s argument that the music played as big a role in creating the magic of
The Doors’ as did Morrison’s charismatic presence is the underlying theme behind
the continued success of the Manzarek-Krieger Band, which began its current
incarnation 10 years ago (giving them a longer track record than the original
“Gentlemen of a certain age as Robby and I have become, we’re
still here walking the planet, dancing and making the incredible music that we
first did with The Doors. Life is joyous,” Manzarek said.
And the joy
continues. Despite some missed shows by Krieger later in that tour due to a
kidney illness, the band is gearing up for another summer run that kicks off on
Saturday night at Park Ra’anana, with ticket prices starting at NIS 199. The
group will also hit venues in Russia, France, Italy and Poland before returning
to the US for shows in the fall.
During their show Saturday night, if you
close your eyes out there under the Ra’anana stars during a particularly soulful
organ run by Manzarek or a scintillating solo by Krieger, you might even hear
Jim Morrison chuckle in satisfaction from the other side of the sea.
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