Words by Audra Tracy

In the height of the 1960’s, The Doors took the L.A. lifestyle to new levels, experimenting with drinks, drugs, and even the dark arts. Suggestive songs brought media controversy, and their unpredictable live shows often made the local police blotter. Although the main source of mayhem – the inimitable Jim Morrison – checked out in 1971, Robby Krieger (guitar) and Ray Manzarek (organ) are still melting faces well into the 21st century.

Songs about whiskey and women never go out of style, especially in a classy place like New Jersey. So on November 1st, Red Bank opened its doors to what’s left of The Doors, and got quite a trip in return.


The set opened with ‘Roadhouse Blues’, but it was the interlude that followed during ‘Break on Through’ that found 72 year old Ray Manzarek freestyle rapping about the glories of marijuana and LSD. He warned of the dangers of ‘white stuff’ and speed, and instead encouraged his fans to ‘Be psychedelic!’

‘When The Music’s Over’ was dedicated to Mr. Mojo Risin himself, with Manzarek noting ‘may he rest in Paris’. Wickedly waving his arm over the keyboard as if it were a cauldron, Ray seemed to be conjuring the spirit of the lost poet as Morrison’s hypnotic words ‘we want the world and we want it…now!’ echoed through the theater.

Typically, when a band carries on after losing such an iconic front man, the potential for a cheesy tribute show rises exponentially. Thankfully Ray & Robby found Dave Brock, a man who kinda looks like Jim, definitely sounds like Jim, but is obviously not trying to be Jim. It’s a fine line to balance, and Brock does so humbly, especially during the encore sing-a-long ‘People are Strange’.

If we learned anything from Ray & Robby’s performance at Count Basie Theatre, it’s that the flower children who once swayed and spun around during the band’s heyday are now very tired, and they would prefer to enjoy their rock n roll from a soft, comfy chair. On several occasions Manzarek called out his crowd for their lack of energy, but by the ‘Light My Fire’ finale everyone was on their feet, and even a roadie was seen shaking a tambourine on stage.

Leave it to Ray & Robby to remind us that you’re never too old to rock the hell out. We love ’em madly for it.


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