The Doors’ eponymous debut album was released in 1967, and on January 4th to be exact. I was less than five years old then. At the age of twenty one and in the summer of 1983, the Doors exploded into my life when my friend and downstairs neighbour, Phillip Kimberly, would play Doors bootlegs, and the music would creep up through the floorboards and just flow into me. I have to say that the recordings which were on vinyl were rough as hell, but of these bootlegs it was the spoken word poetry recordings, such as ‘Rock is Dead’, that got me into the legend that is the Doors.

I first of all met drummer John Densmore during the only time he came to Britain later on that year for a Doors music business ICA event to plug the live album, ‘Alive, She Cried’, which had just been released. I met him at a book signing, for his book, ‘Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors’, and then later on I saw guitarist Robby Kreiger live at every chance I could.

The Strange Doors hail from Milton Keynes, not sunny California. Tonight's support act are Cornerstone, three geezers that play music that they love. The music that they love is either by Clapton or Hendrix, so we get Cream, Hendrix, Cream, Hendrix etc etc and then a Derek and the Dominos number for a change. Much as I like both, they bore me, to death. The thing about tribute bands is you have to do it so well. If not, it's pants and you disrespect the legend of the band

The Doors' legend is huge. The venue is full of old people, whom may like the Doors but frankly show no get up and go. As I arrive, I notice a leather-panted guy, and I say to myself, “Well, that's Jim.” Next to him, I see a guy who is a complete dead spit of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and as he looked in 1967. The only downside is the whole band apart from the drummer wear wigs. With Jim and Ray, you can't tell, but Robby's wig makes him look like a joke. He looks more like a 1970’s Michael Jackson. All the instruments played are the same as the Doors’ original instruments apart from Robby's guitars, but when he plays them they make the same music.

The Strange Doors consists of Grant as Jim, Anselm as Ray, Jason as John and Andrew as Robby. Tonight's show is in two sets that last two and a half hours all together with a fifteen minute break in the middle. They only have six albums worth of studio material to choose from, but overall they choose wisely.

‘The Changeling’ from ‘L.A. Woman’ is the second song in the set. It is a number that I don't personally think should be included as the Doors never toured ‘L.A.Woman’ until Ray and Robby’s group, the Doors of the 21st Century, first did in 2002. This makes the Strange Doors more of a tribute to than a recreation of the real sound.

That said, I get a pint, and stand down the front, squeezed in by chairs and old men, and from the moment they play I am totally floored. They also choose to do all of that first album in all its full glory, but split it into two, one part each set.

When they take a break, I talk to both Jason and Andrew at the bar, who tells me his wig is the best that he could find. My answer to this is to get rid of it, but I find that they are as rabid dogs as I am on the band.

The Doors never made bubblegum music. It is full of depth and mystery, and it is during ‘Not to Touch the Earth’, a track from the 1968 album, ‘Waiting for the Sun’, upon which the band nail into me so hard that I totally forget this is not the real thing. They hypnotize me, and after that I am there for the taking. This is music to lose your soul in, and the Strange Doors do just that. Welcome to the trip!












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