Last night my lady & I went to see the Robby Krieger Jazz Band at Anthology in SD. In the 1960’s, this legendary guitarist wrote some of the greatest rock’n’roll songs of all time including ‘Light my fire’, ‘Touch me’ & ‘Love me two times’ – all while experimenting with LSD, bottleneck slide guitar & the amazing antics of Door’s frontman – Jim Morrison.
Having seen ‘Riders on the Storm’ a couple of years ago at the House of Blues, I knew that even in his 60’s this legend could rock the house down – so off we went nice & early to get a table seat right up front…ten feet from the stage. After some dinner & a bottle of wine, the show started – on comes the band, all cool as anything…then out jumps Robby, in a Chivas soccer jersey – casual, unassuming…cool.
Off to the left of the stage, artist Norton Wisdom has a canvas set up under a spot light & as Robby breaks open the show with a funky jazz tune, off starts Norton with his interpretive art flowing along with the music. Accompanied some amazing musicians (including the eccentric/energetic & legend keyboardist Tommy Mars) Robby played all but 2 songs of his latest Grammy nominated album ‘Singularity’…making special note of the song ‘Southern Cross’ (which appears on the Australian flag!) & softly telling the crowd that this song was inspired by the different constellations only seen from the southern hemisphere. Each song electrifying, with subtle notes of the classic Doors riff’s & other classic tunes weaving through the songs & always giving you a sense that Robby has his own unique sound that he just loves to experiment with.
Ninety minutes into the show, a shaggy haired guy with the dress sense & swagger of Jim Morrison wanders onto stage & fires the crowd up with the anticipation of a Doors song. Playing ‘Touch me’ the crowd starts rocking & even after 50 years, Robby is enjoying every note. Finally, after a short ‘good night’ the band shuffles back on stage, and instantly starts playing the opening riff of ‘Roadhouse Blues’ sends the whole crowd (me especially) into a happiness that words cannot describe. Ten minutes & multiple instrumentals later, the concert is ended. Everyone is happy, especially me.
After only a couple of minutes, Norton Wisdom came back out on stage to clean up his art station. Of course, I couldn’t help myself – so I started chatting with him about his performance art & the images he had created tonight. He was extremely casual & open to talk about it & simply said “I go with the music, I see how it makes me feel, and I just paint”. I really enjoyed watching his create his art as the music played – it was a perfect combination.
Then, as a few people wait next to the stage to see if the band will come out, on walks Robby to the stage, right over next to us to collect something – so, without hesitation, I say to Robby “thank you so much, your passion & music is a real inspiration” – to which Robby holds out his hand to shake mine & humbly responds “thank you – that’s what its all about”. Heaven, I am in heaven. I just shook the hand of one of the greatest guitarists, musicians, writers – ever, period. As the crowd rushes over to get signatures, I wander a few steps back in awe of the casualness of the legend. Humbled, happy & inspired. We too grab a copy of his CD & get his signature amongst the relaxed crowd – all the time Robby seems so easy-going & willing to sign anything, take pictures & say thank you to the millions of compliments everyone is giving him.
All while this is happening, the rest of the band is packing up, and grabbing a well deserved drink & my lady, who has falling in love with the energy of Tommy Mars, drags me over to chat with him. “You gotta do what you love man. It’s all about doing what you love” says Tommy – keeping our energy levels floating…what a cool cat!!! So great to meet Tommy…but in the corner of my eye, I see the crowd disperse from Robby & just before he wanders of stage, I couldn’t help but need to get a final chat in with him, so I head over & again begin a simply ‘thank you’ for the mans music & asking him one more question of “back in the day, with Jim, Ray & John – what was it like, before you took over the world with the music – when you were just jamming, just getting started – young guys making music – what was it like?”….Robby’s response, “we were just doing our thing man, having fun & being true to what felt right”.
Thank you Robby Krieger. Thank you.