I haven’t done this in a while, but a Doors fan, Chuck Wagner, attended the Manzarek-Krieger Band at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA this past Monday (September 24), and he emailed me such an effusive, high energy account of the evening I thought it would be nice to get out as a fan review, so here it is The Manzarek-Krieger Band at the Birchmere, September 24, 2012.
I wanted to drop you a note because I saw Manzarek-Krieger at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA tonight and to let you know the show was great! I was 10 feet from Ray Manzarek at a nice venue where the audience was seated at tables!
The set list was essentially what has been circulating, but one of Robby’s friends apparently wanted to hear “Waiting For The Sun” which they admittedly had not played for some time but pulled it off nicely! Robby Krieger sounded amazing! Out of a packed house he somehow made immediate eye contact with me, smiled and pointed at me before launching into “Roadhouse Blues.”
Ray Manzarek, for being on a single 5 octave synth (Alesis QS 6.2) in a Vox Continental case (but his Continental samples are right on!) played some really interesting stuff, going into a Debussy like impressionistic solo before “Riders On The Storm.” The band has a looseness about them, little slips here and there but no one cares because it’s such a happy experience when they play! (I never fault slips because I certainly make them too!)
Dave Brock (from “Wild Child” the defacto best Doors Tribute Band in the country”) often channels Morrison’s voice. It’s sometimes eerie how good he is at it! He does not try to impersonate with gimmicks such as costumes, but pays respect to Jim through his vocal performance. It is striking how “Roadhouse Blues” was somewhat slower than usual, but it worked!
They benefit from their bass player, Phil Chen, greatly as he played Lubahn’s studio lines very well and with a great “bass tone” (and Ray is not playing Piano bass). The drummer, Ty Dennis, is very talented, but he is a bit heavy, for me, and sometimes for the Doors music. He did change “Break On Through” by not giving it the strict Bossa Nova” feel of John Densmore (who would be a better fit, I think, as the Doors benefit from a more jazz style drummer). Ty also likes to play a bit behind the beat which tends to impart said “heavy” effect, but is again, to me, not as ideally suited to the Doors as probably Stewart Copeland was as Copeland plays in more of a jazz style, and tends to push the front of the beat like Densmore. But Ty,again, is a really great drummer and I want to stress that, lest I seem overly critical. Plus, any musician should be able to interpret, and it’s nice that Ray and Robby seem to encourage such. Everyone up there conveys clearly they are having fun while celebrating the memory and legacy of Jim Morrison.
They did not sign autographs but the cop watching out for them was kind enough to take the 2 CD’s I had signed to Ray and Robby (I saw him give then to them) of my Doors block from my 2010 solo live, so I’m really excited that I was able to share something back with Ray and Robby! Again, I cannot overemphasize how great Robby Krieger sounds live! His tones are amazing, the slide is like the records and he looks genuinely happy when he plays! He even commented how nice it was to see all of us there on a Monday night! And the Birchmere was packed! Everyone loved it! I had never seen The Doors live and I feel like I did something tonight I’ve needed to do for a long time!
At left is a video of Chuck’s of Manzarek-Krieger doing a rarely performed “Waiting for the Sun” and if you would like to see a couple of other of Chuck’s video’s from the Birchmere he also has “Break on Through,” “Moonlight Drive” and “Riders on the Storm.” For more information on Chuck, check out Chuck Wagner Music. Thank you Chuck!
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