The guitarist’s wailing slowed to a singular plucked humble fading note and the singer broke the near-silence with a halting proclamation in a rather out-of-the-blue manner: “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection!” The audience let out a small gasp. “Send my credentials to the house of detention. I’ve got some friends inside.” The song took a somber tone as the singer took on a more determined gaze at the crowd, eying each corner down. “The face in the mirror won’t drop.” This was answered by a virtual nodding by the organist and guitarist in unison in a double-beat. The singer sing-spoke further with a thick Ginsbergian-laden voice, “The girl in the window won’t stop. A feast of friends, ‘alive’ she cried, waitin’ for me, out-side!” The crowd collectively withdrew a bit, pondering the words. The bass-line and the chords encouraging rumination. Several seconds passed, but it really seemed like minutes. The grooving movement of the crowd slowed. Where was this band taking them? Despite my readings, I wondered too.
He leaned into the microphone with a relaxed subtlety and let the words breathe out of his alcohol-soaked pores, then the mouth. “Before I sink, into the big sleep…. I want to hear…I want to hear…the scream of the butterfly.” This caused the organist to lean heavily on his right foot, which controlled the volume of his instrument. Slowly, the sound of a continuous vibrato note flowed out of the surrounding PA’s then suddenly receded. As the sound reached that peak, it suddenly was punctuated by the drummer’s attentive snapping snare drum commanding the singer to jump back into cadence. Almost startled, the singer inhaled deeply and continued his monologue as though uninterrupted. “Come back! Baby…back into my, arms.” He gently pleaded to an unknown lover. The organist was simultaneously playing the bass line, and holding it smooth and holding it steady. Doom-doo-doo-doom, dooh-doo-doo-dooom. The second the last word was repeated, the hi-hat exhaled a deep sigh, letting the singer continue in perfect time. In a tobacco-raspy voice he lightly sung with a mild annoyance, “we’re getting tired of hanging around. Waitin’ around with our heads to the ground.” A strange awkward pause occurred as the singer looked to his left towards a roadie offstage. “I hear a very gent-tle sound.” The singer barely murmured. At that moment, the singer whirled around in a controlled manner to face his drummer, and a fresh instrumental dialogue began. “Very near, yet very far. Very soft, yet very clear. Come today. Come today.” The drummer, eyes riveted on his band leader began to furiously twitch his wrists in a stark, angry-jazz staccato beat, mixing rim-taps and stark raps to his snare drum. Apparently satisfied with this rhythmic communication, the singer turned languidly to his lead guitar player who was standing, nearly frozen on stage, not picking at his strings. No noise. No music from him of late, but he stood with a slight smirk as though he were channeling a hint of nirvana from a Zen Buddhist monk. Only the sound of the organ’s bass line and the comforting continuity of the drummer’s steady riff could be heard. Turning from the guitarist and to the swaying, transfixed audience, the singer asked aloud, “what have they done to the earth? What have they done to our fair sister?” Pausing briefly, and with the full fierce cooperation of his rim-tapping drummer hitting the edge of his snare at a sudden 30bpms, the singer answered his own question: “Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her, stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn and….Tied her with fences…and….dragged her down!” A tremendous emphasis on the last word, sinking as deep into the abyss as he dropped comfortably onto a dark, low bass note. The organist continued his smooth rhythm, matched only with the drummer’s regular tapping in full manic musical agreeance. “I hear a very gentle sound.” The singer stopped and whispered, “with your ear down, to the ground….” As the sheer weight of the moment lingered and the heavy sentence hung on so long, the singer crouched down to his knees before bursting upright with his organist, drummer and guitarist pausing in half second delay as he let loose his righteous cry, “We want the world and we want it (we want the world), We want the world and we want it….NOW?” The drummer escalated his astounding militant drum roll into a dizzying crescendo as the singer crouched, bouncing, faced the very drummer whom he was inducing the very water inside the singer to boil. In an instant, the singer exploded upright, in time with the crashing of the cymbals, the guitar player’s pick striking all 6 electrified strings at once, the organist using all ten fingers fluttering over his 88’s, the singer yelled one word: “NOW!” This unleashed a bomb explosion of fury from the four players in perfect musical time. The song, interrupted, narrated, temporarily dislocated and dissected blew into broken dam of all 4 musicians hitting their power chords, literally pushing the crowd backwards with the exhaled air of the blasting speakers.
The sheer bombast of the following refrains stunned the audience (myself included) until the raucous waves of music muscle relaxed again, allowing the collective whole to regain their sense of where there where and what they’d witnessed. Like everyone else, I was standing in quiet awe which made me completely susceptible to a large drunken audience member knocking me nearly to the ground in their uninhibited revelry. However, instead of apologizing, the bearded offender grabbed me by my brother’s ripped denim jacket and pulled me to eye-level shouting “Don’t interrupt my song!” I glared into the rabid eyes of the LSD’d interrogator and the immediate thoughts of course were to preserve myself. “Look, its Jim!” I shouted pointing wildly behind him. The beast momentarily dropped me to my feet and realizing I’d spared the future of all humankind irreparable damage, I knew I had to flee. Before the man’s acid-laced brain could process what exactly had transpired – despite the fact the band was still wrapping up their breathtaking set, I was gone. I pushed and pulled my denim way through the hot Whiskey-A-Go-Go club to the blazing red exit sign that welcomed me with cooler smoke-free air. All I could hear upon my frantic exit was the singer’s microphoned plea “Persian night babe! Save us! See the light babe! Save us! Jes-us, save us!” When I broke into the LA night air I was met with a few frantic looks from dazed onlookers still inline, who greeted me with “dude” and “hey brother” and I looked to the rooftop where my veritable time-traveling port-a-potty was faithfully waiting for a 2009 concert review of the 1967 Doors show I’d just witnessed. I saw my rooftop and stealthily climbed the nearest fire escape. If I was lucky, in minutes, all going well, I’d be back in my condo overlooking Spadina Avenue looking my fair city Toronto. I surveyed the sultry city of Angels and breathed the late 60’s air one last time, wishing I could stay, but grudgingly proceeded to open the aluminum door of my craft. Simmering with excitement and my little notebook tucked in my back pocket, I closed the thin bluish door and pulled the red lever, crossing my fingers in hopes that 40 years forward to the future would be a spectacular and seamless process. After all, this was a rock review whose time had come.