Well, not really The Doors, but the songwriting half of the band playing all Doors songs. The vocalist that Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek travel with nowadays looks and sounds like The Lizard King. I picked “Hello, I Love You” as the SOW because I figured no one could screw that up – even Finn on Glee could sing it well. I would never have guessed that the new vocalist could actually pull off songs like “L.A. Woman” and “When the Music’s Over” to great effect. But he could. And it was awesome.
They kicked things off strong with “Roadhouse Blues” before moving into a slightly underwhelming version of “Break on Through.” But things would pick up after that with a rousing rendition of “When the Music’s Over” followed by the soft and beautiful “Waiting for the Sun.” Those two songs were the highlight for me, though the quality of other hits like “Alabama Song,” “People Are Strange,” “Touch Me,” “Love Her Madly,” and “L.A. Woman” were top notch. “Riders on the Storm” was underwhelming, in large part due to a sloppy organ solo from Manzarek (in general, Robby is the sharper of the musicians nowadays). Manzarek also had awkward in-between song banter that I could have done without.
The band played for over two hours and concluded with a two song encore of “Love Me Two Times” and “Light My Fire.” It was well worth the high ticket price. The only downer for me was the venue. I can’t stand going to The Birchmere.
What do I hate about The Birchmere? In short, everything. To get more specific:
-The location – The Birchmere is in the middle of nowhere. It’s not metro accessible. And it’s not easy to find, especially at night, because it’s so far off the road and there is only one small sign that’s easy to miss.
-The parking lot – It’s a horrible shape that leads to a giant traffic jam when exiting. Half of the spaces are double parked, so if you get one of those it will take even longer to exit.
-The system to get in – It’s all sorts of ridiculous. At 5pm you can pick up your ticket and get a number, like you are at a deli. At 6pm they open the doors to the music hall and let people enter…one at a time. This, as you can imagine, takes approximately forever. If you don’t arrive right at 5pm, you don’t stand a chance of sitting in the front section. Have fun on the sides with a bad view!
-The table set up – Once you get past the ridiculous number system, you enter into a room that (for most shows) is full of tables. So you spend the concert sitting next to strangers at a dinner table.
-You can’t stand during the show – Again, you’re sitting at a dinner table. Standing is not allowed. Even the old people at my table complained about this. EVEN THE OLD PEOPLE.
-The food – It’s overpriced and not that good. But since you’ve been there since 5pm and the show doesn’t start until 7:30pm, obviously you are going to eat it. They don’t even have tap water available. You have to buy a bottle.
I will note that the Birchmere also has standing shows, though I’ve never been to one. I feel that I would dislike the venue much less at such a show. Just removing the awkward table set up would help a lot.