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When the band hit the stage I had to catch my breath. The resemblance between Pete Bowman and Jim Morrison is rather scary. It isn’t only visual, but vocal! You could really believe you were at a Doors gig. Bowman is a rare performer, he gives himself wholly to the music. This only enriches the performance for the audience, but the priority for the lead vocalist is definitely the music.
By the second song the audience was singing along. They were dancing and flocking to the stage front in droves. It was great! The fact that Bowman was making eye contact and giving the audience a one-on-one feel only made it more special. Even the minor equipment troubles were overlooked.
The group played numerous hits over the course of the night, their covering of Doors classics impeccable! There was a soft intensity to the performance, as Bowman brought the past into the present with all the style and grace of a young god. He harnessed the raging hormones of the room with the skill of a master performer. I had to wonder, is this impersonator as tragically tortured as Morrison himself?
The audience was enthusiastic. Their energy just kept building and building. One young lady screamed out “I love you, Jim Morrison!” and I had the sudden feeling that the real poet and singer’s moldering bones were pleased!
Obviously “The Unknown Soldiers” are doing an incredible job – they’re completely believable as the Doors. “People are Strange” had the entire bar singing along! There’s a 60’s feel to the fun and interpersonal connections made between band and audience, and even the audience members seemed more at peace than usual with each other. No fights. No arguing. Everyone was just happy to be there; enjoying the music, the band, and each other.
The generation gap was even bridged. I saw it with my very own eyes, as a late 50’s early 60’s gent was standing beside a really early 20’s gal. They didn’t know each other, but they were soon exchanging conversation and dancing. It was great!
“Light My Fire” had the dance floor so packed there was hardly room to do much more than bounce in place! The crowd sang along with all the enthusiasm they could find – a great deal of it, believe me! The keyboards were phenomenal as an impromptu jam session began. At this point an adoring older fan hit the stage and kissed the benevolent Bowman on the cheek. Security cautiously approached the stage only to be waved back.
A twenty minute break brought the second set some serious energy replacement as “Backdoor Man” blasted through the bar. This is a band that really caters to its audience, and gives them the ultimate in cover performances. I can’t believe that they aren’t doing the world-wide tour, yet. However I do have faith that they will, one day.
The band had Nate Christian from Seattle’s “The American Night’ Doors tribute band step up for one song. While ‘adequate’ I certainly wouldn’t say he’s as good as Pete at stepping into Morrison’s shoes! I was honestly disappointed with this as I had been looking forward to seeing just what Bowman could do with “Roadhouse.”
Towards the end of the gig there was more of a trance quality to the performance and the music. Energy levels were depleted on both sides, but the “younglings” were putting on a great show on the dance floor, regardless. The band performed not one but two more songs after calling it quits! The final song to grace our ears was “Riders on the Storm” and although the keys came off a little “fuzzy” and loud, it was an exceptional performance of this classic tune.
“The Unknown Soldiers” are a superior cover band and provide the audience with an exceptional experience of what it would have been like to attend a Doors’ gig. I highly recommend that you see a show if you have the chance, and for any Doors fans – don’t miss it!
Pete Bowman - Vocals
Mike Zyke - Lead Guitar
Shawn Hazes - Keyboards/backing vocals
Miguel Zalladares - Bass
Blair McDonald - Drums
*A special thanks to Robert and Michelle – both for picking up my tab, and for handling the unwanted suitor who didn’t understand “get lost!” You’re truly wonderful people and I’m glad our paths crossed!
Article by: Naomi De Bruyn
posted:09 May 2009
Related Link: http://www.theunknownsoldiers.info
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