On a grey Wednesday in Los Angeles, a crowd gathered in Venice to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Doors. Fans toting copies of the group’s debut album – on vinyl, naturally – cheered as Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin officially declared January 4th the “Day of the Doors” and original band members Robby Krieger and John Densmore played a loose, rumbly version of the classic “L.A. Woman.”
Speaking before the ceremony, Krieger and Densmore talked about their Venice origins. “We started up right here in Venice, and we’re ending up right here in Venice too,” Krieger said. “It’s all a cycle.” Densmore remembered that the ocean nearby inspired lead singer Jim Morrison, who died in 1971, to write “Moonlight Drive.” He added that keyboard player Ray Manzarek, who died in 2013, had an apartment in the neighborhood nearby for a paltry $75 a month.
Rust was no issue for the two veteran rockers as they climbed back onstage half a century after the band formed. “Even though Robbie and I sometimes haven’t played for years, for me, a couple bars and I’m back,” Densmore explained. “When you do these songs for many, many years over a lifetime, they’re in your blood. It only takes a second to chase down the magic.”
The two bandmates speculated that both Morrison and Manzarek would have enjoyed the festivities. “You can’t say what Jim would say or have done because he always would do something different, but I bet he would have been here, and he would’ve dug it,” Krieger said. “I think he would have been proud.”
“I’m sure Ray would love it,” Densmore added. “He was always working the band, and this is great.”
The 50th anniversary celebration continues in March, when the Doors’ debut LP will be reissued as 3 CD/LP package.