Sunday, April 16, 2017

Robby Krieger of the Doors at City Winery

Robby Krieger was born in Los Angeles, California, where his first exposure to music was classical. When he was seven, he began listening to early rock and roll on the radio. At age 10, he tried briefly to learn to play the trumpet, but soon preferred playing the blues on his parents' piano. While in boarding school in Menlo Park, California, he used his nightly study time to teach himself the guitar. In the mid-1960s, Krieger took lessons in flamenco guitar, then learned folk, blues, and jazz, and played in a jug band, the Back Bay Chamber Pot Terriers. Krieger became a member of the Doors in 1965 after keyboard player Ray Manzarek's brothers left the group. Led by vocalist Jim Morrison, the Doors became rock music royalty. After Morrison’s death in 1971, Krieger, Manzarek and drummer John Densmore continued the Doors as a trio until 1973. Krieger then formed the Butts Band with Densmore and then recorded solo albums as a jazz-fusion guitarist in the late 1970s and 1980s, and led bands called the Robby Krieger Organization and the Robby Krieger Band in the 1990s. Krieger and Manzarek reformed as the Doors of the 21st Century in 2002 with vocalist Ian Astbury of the Cult.  Densmore disputed the use of the Doors name, and so the band became Riders on the Storm, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors, and finally, Manzarek–Krieger. Krieger currently tours as Robby Krieger of the Doors. His seventh and most recent solo album is 2010's Singularity.

In recent years, Krieger reverted from jazz fusion experimentation to jamming with Doors cover bands. He relearned the Doors catalogue as it was originally recorded, without extra flourishes. The concert by "Robby Krieger of the Doors" at City Winery tonight was a Doors tribute concert from beginning to end, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the release of the band's debut album. For those who came to hear live versions of familiar favorites by what was essentially a Krieger-led cover band, they got what they needed. The band's ability to mimic the classic records was also the downfall of the concert. Live, the Doors was the world's most unpredictable band, but 50 years later its guitarist was leading the most predictable of all bands. Instead of volatile and alive, all the dynamics were pre-fitted and pre-fabricated to where one could only be in awe as to how inferior this band was compared to the original. Krieger's son, Waylon Krieger, sang all the Morrison parts, and one could only speculate that nepotism secured him the job. The band stretched out a bit towards the end, but it was too little too late. The concert had no mojo rising.

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