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The Doors - 21st Century Live in NYC

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Thursday, May 8, 2003 @ 8:27 AM

The Doors - 21st Century Live

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“THE DOORS- 21ST CENTURY” careened onto the stage at Roseland shortly before 9PM, and for over two hours indulged the sold-out crowd in rubbernecking at the mangled hulk of a gleaming Thunderbird convertible horribly bent into a fiery wreck.

It’s so very, very wrong in its execution -- but it plays astonishingly well to an audience of overgrown, beer-swilling Frat-boys gone to seed and SUV-driving Soccer-Moms with saddlebags, who pine away for the romance of an imagined rogue-lover…

The incessant “Broadway-ization” of bands supplanting original members – and in this case: one deceased (Morrison) and one in litigation (Densmore) – with shiny new folks who take turns sharing the spotlight like the swing cast of a well-worn musical -- has reached it’s pinnacle in “THE DOORS – 21ST CENTURY.”

Cloaked in the guise of the once-mysterious and underrated Ian Astbury, this “21ST CENTURY” sell-out to Clear Channel reeks like egg salad, as the now-sober Cult front-man finally gives in to the oft-heard Morrison comparison, trivializing, and hypocritically singing “Roadhouse Blues” and “Alabama Song,” among others. In fact, Ian Astbury singing “Mr. MoJo Rising!” comes across with the same depth and resonance of his singing “I Wish I Was An Oscar Meyer Weiner!”

Leather-clad and looking every inch the son of the legendary singer he apes -- Astbury beguiled the audience with his high energy and warm vocals -- but it is not enough to salvage the night’s performance, which sags with every single word that keyboardist Ray Manzarek utters between songs. Manzarek, as he has been for years since Jim Morrison’s demise, remains deadly boring in his history lessons and time --wasting between-song peace-rants and monologues.

Far beyond the brave audacity of staging this musical interpretation of a celebrated, once-exciting group -- is the unbelievable travesty of introducing new material into the broad roster of “Greatest Hits.” Whether the Saturn-driving Yuppies who formed the majority of the audience will harken towards the call of a new disc remains to be seen. What lingers, is the memory and image of a legendary staple of AOR radio, now turned into a touring musical revue unworthy of the $70 to $100 ticket prices.

The Doors of perception have been ethnically cleansed and are as see-through as an empty glass on a bar at The Hard Rock Café…

Avoid at all costs. Buy The Doors box set, and The Cult’s Love, Electric and Sonic Temple to really enjoy some cool rock and roll. If you already own those -- and you are still curious -- take SEVENTY bucks out of your pocket and throw it in the street, and then go back listen to your CDs, and maybe watch the Val Kilmer flick. You’ll have a better time.

Set List:

- Roadhouse Blues
- Break On Through
- Ray Manzarek Lecture #1 (“Glad to be back!”)
- Love Me Two Times
- Moonlight Drive
- Wild Child
- Cops Talk (new song, lyrics by Jim Carroll/music by The Doors)
- Alabama Song
- Ray Manzarek Lecture #2 (“Peace Rant”)
- 5 To 1
- The Crystal Ship
- People Are Strange
- Spanish Caravan
- Ray Manzarek Lecture #3 ( ?? )
- Maggie McGill
- L.A. Woman
- Light My Fire/Get Up Stand Up
- Ray Mazaerek talks again…
- Riders On The Storm
- Peace Frog
- Soul Kitchen

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