Written by Samuel Barker
Oct 23, 2003 at 08:00 PM
Ian AstburyWith the recording of the band\’s DVD taking place on this night, there was a special buzz in the air. Everyone filed in wearing their Jim Morrison t-shirts, talking about how they were unsure what to expect. Of course, there were also those who made it out to the stop they made here in Houston seven months earlier. These people were more focused, they knew what to expect, but were still hoping for something to make this night more memorable than the first. They got just that.Walking into the Verizon Wireless Theater, audience members were greeted with cameramen running around, a crane at stage left and a crew making sure the stage lights were set to go for the recording. In a way, the audience was comforted in knowing there would be no technical problems due to the amount of work put into everything for this show.

After 30 minutes of watching the film crew ready, the audience erupted as the lights fell and the band took the stage. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek, smiling widely, greeted the audience with a wave, then Robbie Krieger, dressed in Army fatigues, began the opening riff of Roadhouse Blues. With this, vocalist Ian Astbury charged the front of the stage and began singing.

Dressed in a 3/4 length wool jacket, blue jeans, boots and sunglasses, Astbury, whose hair has also grown out since March, looked like an ageless Jim Morrison up on the stage dancing, yelling and shaking his tamborine throughout the song. While last time through, Astbury was quick to let everyone know he was not Morrison or trying to be Morrison, he had now relaxed and let the music take over. Rather than being Jim Morrison, Astbury stopped NOT being Jim Morrison, which did himself and the songs more justice.

Also, the rest of the band seemed to respond to the time together with more energy. No longer were they reviving the dead and trying to prove themselves, they were past that. They were a rock band from L.A. doing what they do best, performing their songs.

Of course, four songs in, the energy was there, but a sense of disappointment hit when they were the exact four songs that opened the set last time the band made it through town. However, it was at this moment the surprise was given to the audience for dealing with the camera crew and constant flow of runners around the theater. The Doors were about the perform their L.A. Woman album in its entirety.

Most Doors fans who know anything about their history know that it was right before their tour for L.A. Woman when Jim Morrison made his trip to France. A trip he’d never return from. As Manzarek told, they were prepared to tour the album with the bass player who recorded with them, but when Morrison did not return from France, they never returned to the road until this year.

The songs took a new life in the live format. The Changling sounded a bit dirtier and darker, which may have been something influenced by Astbury’s days with The Cult. Nothing was left out of this stroll through the album, even the poetic voyage WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) made its way to life on this night.

Closing out the album performance was Riders On the Storm, which seemed a perfect time to head out into the cold, rainy Houston night. While the set more than likely rolled on, I walked out the front of the Verizon Wireless Theater to the final organ notes of Riders On the Storm and felt the rain hit my face. It is moments like this that make music the beautiful thing it is. Hopefully these guys will create some new music and keep the spirit alive. Some of these songs are too good to be lost in a rack at a CD shop.