Robby Krieger played in St. Charles, IL last night at the Arcada Theater with his “50 years of The Doors’ Greatest Hits” tour which showed fans a close up of his guitar virtuosity, worthy of the blues guitar heroes he admired in his youth and the rock ‘n’ roll legend he is.
The Arcada Theater is a renovated theater that has seen a lot of classic, vintage and new groups playing to rock ‘n’ roll audiences of Chicago’s western suburbs. It’s a smaller venue where no seat is a bad seat, balcony included, and its origins as a theater make for good acoustics. We sat right in front of the band and sometimes when that happens there’s a lot of bleeding of the sound but Krieger and company were crisp the whole night through.
Krieger’s band includes his son Waylon on vocals and Phil Chen who has been playing bass with Robby since The Butts Band days of the mid ’70s. With keyboardist Nathan Wilmarth and drummer Owen Goldman they make a tight band. The first half of the show was The Doors’ shorter songs, and in the second half they played The Doors’ longer songs. Each is given their moment to shine, as Goldman pounded the skins of his drums hard during “When the Music’s Over” and Wilmarth had some good solos notably during “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm.” Waylon Krieger had a lot of fun with the audience during “When the Music’s Over”, as he paused before the “we want the world” section of the song and someone in crowd yelled out “we want the world!” and Krieger replied “spoiler alert”.
The show is of course Robby Krieger who is given plenty of room for solos that reached into the incendiary. Krieger showed his slide guitar work on “Moonlight Drive” and gave his guitar the psychedelic roar at the beginning of “When the Music’s Over.“ Mid-way through the show Krieger plays a twenty minute solo of “Spanish Caravan”. Solos of this length can lead to self-indulgence and repetition but not in the hands of a guitar player who knows the guitar inside and out like Krieger. There wasn’t one moment of that solo that was repetitious or uninteresting, and it was during this extended solo that Krieger pushed the envelope and hit some heights previously unknown in this song.
This is a very satisfying show for Doors fans, the only complaint being the time constraint of his allotted time (two other bands played after Krieger) but Krieger played wall to wall. “Riders” was abbreviated, but not by much, as they pushed the limits of the time.
Originally published March 16, 2015.