The Sea Starry Night Jam, billed as a charity fundraising event for the Roundhouse Aquarium of Manhattan Beach Pier at the lovely oceanside Strandhouse, starring Robby Krieger of The Doors and his band Jam Kitchen with members of Frank Zappa’s band.
Good cause. Great location. And I get to hear Robby Krieger play? I’m in!
A few thoughts on the night.
It was not exactly the “gala event” I had pictured in my mind. I dressed up to the nines with matching purse and heels, yet ended up surrounded mostly by other guests wearing shorts, jeans, tshirts and flip flops. Slightly disappointing but certainly not devastating.
Two free drinks to loosen us up was a good thing. I got to socialize a bit and peruse the small silent auction items including a few Doors-related gems while sound check was taking place. The Strandhouse is a beautiful restaurant and bar located just steps from the sands of Manhattan Beach. The moon was out and the waves were crashing. I even got a quick photo op with Mr. Krieger himself. I was SO PSYCHED. This was going to be a great night!!
Unfortunately as the show unfolded, what wasn’t clicking for me was the abundance of Jam Kitchen songs, including one called “Coffin Dodger” about how Robby has outlived all the others who passed away at such early ages, namely Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin and others. There was a blinding lack of Doors tunes. We waited in desperate anticipation after each song, some drawn out way past what was necessary, hence the name Jam Kitchen, hoping and praying the next one would be a Doors hit. In all, I think they played maybe five Doors songs?
After opening the show with “You’re Lost Little Girl,” I was so pleased that I immediately began fantasizing and planning in my head all my favorite Doors songs they would play. They regained our attention with “Back Door Man” which got the crowd really fired up. Sensational! Can’t you just picture Jim at the mic? Rocking those tight black leather pants? Mmmm…
Oh Jim!! Why’d you have to leave us so soon??
Yet here I was, 50 years later, standing three feet away from ROBBY KRIEGER of THE DOORS watching him skillfully play these songs as if no time had passed at all. Kind of insane when you think about it really.
The music was spot on, fantastic, excellent…but the vocals were, well… a bit weak to be honest, as different people in the band chimed in at random times. Clearly and understandably, Jam Kitchen is not wanting to be known as a Doors cover band and therefore a lead singer is not necessary, though for the Doors songs they did perform, it left a bit of a hole in the sound.
No disrespect to Mr. Krieger whatsoever, but I feel I speak for the other guests that night when I say we all wanted to hear more of The Doors!
They ended the first set with “Riders On The Storm.” Such a splendidly dark and psychedelic song. The keyboardist looks like he is straight out of the 60’s. Must be from the Frank Zappa Army. He plays his keyboard like a mad scientist. Really talented dude sitting there behind his small, round dark tinted sunglasses, sporting his soul patch and wildly unkempt hair. Perfect picture. The unforgettable bass, guitar and keyboard runs. Perfect sound. I wanted to digest every single note as I would a delicacy at a five star restaurant. Delicious.
The second set was mostly Jam Kitchen jams and the crowd thinned out considerably. While not really my style of music, I for one could not tear myself away for fear of missing anything else by The Doors.
We got serenaded with an interesting saxophone driven, slower version of “Love Me Two Times” and “Roadhouse Blues,” with vocals heavily aided by the remaining crowd.
I feel so honored to have been in the presence of, listened to and had a brief meet and greet with incredibly talented Robby Krieger live and in person. I am so very happy to have heard a few precious Doors songs played by THE ORIGINAL GUITARIST himself. I will not be greedy or ungrateful. Of course, I am just a little bit. While not the event that I dreamt it to be, I am oh so glad I made it.
“The men don’t know
But the little girls understand…”