Riders On The Storm at the Avalon Ballroom on May 17

A review of Riders On The Storm at the Avalon Ballroom on May 17, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

For the past five years Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger’s decision to continue to perform the music they recorded with Jim Morrison has been controversial amongst the legion of Doors fans. No matter where you stand on the issue, one thing is for sure: both of these “old fellas” have not aged when it comes to using their instruments. With former Fuel frontman Brett Scallions now at the helm of their Doors-tribute band, “Riders On The Storm,” rode into Boston for a show at Avalon last Thursday night.
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Despite a surprisingly poor attendance (roughly half the capacity), those that attended the show with an open mind (folks – this is not The Doors with Jim Morrison, nor is it intended to be) were delighted with an entertaining night in honor of one of America’s finest rock bands.& Scallions, dressed in all black with leather pants, worked the crowd well – strutting around the stage doing his best Scott Weiland impersonation. Drummer Ty Dennis and bassist Phil Chen adequately held the rhythm section down. But the story of the night was original Doors members, keyboardist Manzarek and guitarist Krieger, whose youthful energy propelled the Riders On The Storm’s set.
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Scallions asked the crowd to sing with him all night during the band’s opening rendition of “Love Me Two Times,” before Manzarek and Krieger began their first dueling solos of the night. They followed with the hard rocking, “Break On Through.”
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Scallions is touring for the first time with the band after replacing former fill-in frontman Ian Astbury, who left to return to work with his band, The Cult, a few months ago. For the most part Scallions did well, though he struggled on a few tunes, most notably “Moonlight Drive,” during which he read lyrics off papers taped to his monitor. “The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)” was also meet with a dead thump response.
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Kreiger showed his versatility with an extended flamenco style solo that led into “Spanish Caravan.” Manzarek was also impressive, and still found time to go off on a political rant as he dedicated “Five To One,” to all the lawmakers including Massachusetts’ own Mitt Romney (which was meet with a cry of boos) and “for George W. Bush and the other assholes that got us in this war.”
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“When The Music’s Over” was epically powerful and fan favorites “Strange Days,” “Touch Me,” and “L.A. Women” all delighted the Boston faithful.
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At the end of the night, Scallions congratulated Manzarek and Kreiger for celebrating The Doors 40th anniversary this year, while Manzarek responded by leading the band into an encore version of the song that started it all, “Light My Fire.” The night ended just as it began with the two originals dueling it out at center stage, as if they were in their 20’s again.
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The biggest disappointment of the night was not the surprising absence of “Roadhouse Blues” or even “Riders On The Storm,” but the lack of a crowd at Avalon. To think that half of The Who are still touring& and filling arenas, you can’t blame half of The Doors (though drummer John Densmore refuses to take part) to try and find their little slice of the pie. However, the fact that they could not come close to filling a place that even a Sublime cover band did is simply disappointing. Maybe ticket prices were too high, but for those that did make the trip, they were entertained by two legends of rock ‘n roll.

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