On Friday 2 August, Perth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will put on the second in their Reimagined series at His Majesty’s Theatre. The first was a reimagining of Nirvana’s music, this time it’s The Doors, with End Of Fashion’s Justin Burford out front on vocals. Around The Sound spoke to PSO’s founder and CEO, Bourby Webster, to get under the skin of why on Earth they’d be putting an orchestral reinterpretation of the Lizard King’s music into one of Perth’s poshest venues.
“I’ve buried myself in the 60s, which was an extraordinary decade. The Doors songs only make sense if you understand that decade.”Bourby Webster, Perth Symphony Orchestra founder and CEO
Such is Webster’s charm and voluminous knowledge of both contemporary and classical music that it’s hard not to be an instant fan. She speaks with passion and clarity, and she’s been there done that herself having been an original member of one of the most successful bands of the 90s, Bond, an outfit that has achieved over 4 million album sales.
If anyone could take on the legacy of Jim Morrison and The Doors, we couldn’t think of a better person than Webster.
“What I want to do is demonstrate that orchestral music can absolutely tell a story about an artist and period,” said Webster. “With an orchestra I’ve got so many different expressive tools at hand. It’s about building a picture of a band that I believe could only have existed when they existed and it’s about thinking how can I use a symphony orchestra to get people to connect with that band?”
To conceive the show, Webster had to steep herself in the history of The Doors and the decade in which they existed.
“I’ve buried myself in the 60s, which was an extraordinary decade. The Doors songs only make sense if you understand that decade. By the end of the decade, everyone was just screaming blue about the Vietnam war, gays being bashed in the street, black people not being allowed to vote … All of these unbelievable things were happening. They stuck a man on the moon at the end of the decade; they were trying to keep everyone calm and happy, but actually there was so much anger and desperate need for social change. Jim Morrison and The Doors were absolutely part of that. He gave everyone this unbelievable chance to vent, through his lyrics and poetry.”
The genius that Webster brings to the Reimagined series is that, once she’s become the artist and their era, she has the massive advantage of having a whole orchestra to work with. And she knows it! “I can do so much more than they could. When you’ve only got four instruments, you’re pretty trapped. Whereas I’ve got the whole palette. If The Doors had another 40 different sounds that they could use would they have done this? The answer is, ‘Hell yeah!’.”
Who are we to be unbelievers? You, as well? Just go! You’ll love this show madly.
Get your tickets and step through the doors of perception here.