ABSOLUTELY LIVE - DOORS TRIBUTE SHOW
THE CHARLES HOTEL, PERTH
5 FEBRUARY 2011
MANY, MANY TEARS AGO AT SELINA'S, THAT ICONIC ROCK VENUE IN SYDNEY I SAW THESE GUYS IN A DAY LONG FESTIVAL WITH FIRE-BREATHERS, GO-GO DANCERS AND OTHER SIXTIES CIRCUS PARAPHERNALIA! TONIGHT AT THE CHARLES HOTEL THINGS ARE A BIT MORE LOW-KEY BUT THE SHOW HAS LOST NOTHING OVER TIME - IT'S A GREAT NIGHT.
I love The Doors; they were one of the bands that in my youth I was never sick of hearing. They are attached to so many memories for me, so many good times, so many friends… maybe even a feast of friends… I even laid a rose on Jim’s grave before I headed out down-under in the graveyard at 9am on a Sunday morning in a wet and windy Pere Lachaise cemetery surrounded by hippies and people drinking wine it seemed impossible not to share that bottle. But that was a long time ago and even though I’ve never seen the band I still can’t go too long without playing some of their music.
Tonight I’m in a crowd of like-minded people, some are way older than me, some are way younger but we are all here for one reason- the music and the way it makes you feel even now in 2011. Had Jim been with us I have no idea what he would have made of it all, at 67 I’d like to think that he would have added to the legacy in ways I can’t imagine.
Jim once famously said that: “Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names. They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors” and he was right. It is therefore the enduring nature of the music; unstoppable even against the onslaught of the internet, mobile phones and all the vestiges of modern ‘civilisation’ that proves him wrong at least partially. There will always be a place for the Doors- one of the greats that time seems to ignore, unable to age the primal nature of the music…
Opening with “Riders” which was never one of my favourite in their repertoire is cool, but when “Love her Madly” kicks in the crowd that was curious are in awe. It may not be The Doors on stage, but it may well as be.
Tony’s (Jim) mannerisms are something you can only get this good after time and careful study and when the band strike up “Soul kitchen” the over 40s and the kids that get equally caught up in the Morrison mystique as each passing generation will always do. The guitarist tonight is spot on and the addition of a bassist fills out the sound just like the L.A. Woman album benefited from that help. With solid drums and a perfect ‘Ray’ the sound is awesome as it always seems to be at the Charles both up front and at the back. It’s fortunately only the band on stage that are experiencing any sound problems, unbeknown to most of us out there.
“Love me two times” has Tony, resplendent in his black shirt leather trousers, channelling the iconography with his iconic conch belt in full flow. We move into “Peace Frog” with it’s blood in the streets refrain and the guitarist nails one of Robbie’s best solos.
“Touch me” creates a minor lull but “L.A. Woman” is nailed even down to the gravellier more drunken Jim voice. As the song closes we even get to a bit of crowd surfing! It was always one of their greatest songs and Tony proclaims that tonight there’s “Something different- tonight we’re gonna give you some blues!”
The crowd sings along to “When you're Strange” word for words young and old and “Whisky Bar” has some great screams as Tony shares a bottle with the crowd. Seguing into a stormy and heavy “Backdoor Man” the show is elevated to another level with one of Robbie’s great proto-metal solos.
‘Jim’ announces a party after the show “Let's pick up where we left off 15 years ago” referencing these guys last visit to the West (The West is after all the best).
20th century fox segues into the “Snake poem” intro into “Light my Fire” and the crowd are handed sparklers, this version includes the “Cemetery poem” and the set proper closes on a real high.
Encores start with a solo and move swiftly into “Roadhouse Blues” with the drunken sing-along encompassing even the bar staff. “The End” that fittingly closes proceedings is powerful even in facsimile.
It is a great night all round. Chase from local band Diamond Eye, Gary from ‘Pyramid of the Coyote” and I had a great night before we disappeared out of the door and into the night…
Catch these guys if you can.
Reviewed by Mark Diggins