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Doors, The: Live in Boston 1970

Bright Midnight Archives continue their series of live releases from The Doors with Live in Boston 1970. This handsomely packaged three CD set consists of two shows recorded on one evening at the Boston Arena some thirty seven years ago. From the outside, it is clear that Jim Morrison is quite pie-eyed. But it doesn't matter because musically the band is simply outstanding and even the Lizard King himself comes through with moments of brilliance and clarity.

The set list for both shows is pretty similar. The First Show is a relatively scant 77 minutes of unbridled energy from both the performers and the spectators. "Roadhouse Blues", "Ship of Fools", "Five to One" and "When the Music's Over" rock harder than their studio counterparts while losing nothing with regard to theatrics. You can clearly hear audience members attempting to interact with Morrison in between songs and sometimes even during the songs. Even the covers of old blues songs sound great here. "Rock Me" and "Mystery Train" morph into lengthy jams with Ray Manzarek's carnival-like organ and Robby Krieger's sharp guitar leads being particularly noteworthy. The first show ends with a barnstormer version of "Light My Fire".

The second and third discs contains the 10 pm show and while Jim Morrison might have been fairly buzzed during the first show, there must have been plenty of refreshments back stage because it sounds as if the microphone stand is the only thing holding him up. Musically, this is a bit more laid back with a few extra songs and more jamming than the first show. Show opener "Break on Through" is stretched to seven minutes and it seems as if the band are holding back to give Jim time to get himself together. It's a fascinating little train wreck but it still manages to sound great. Songs such as "Build Me a Woman", "You Make Me Real" and "The Spy" are added into the set list while the "Mystery Train" jam is again given righteous treatment from the guys.

Disc three is, for all intents and purposes, mainly a very long version of "Light My Fire". Don't be fooled by the track listing, most of the songs are segues and Krieger and Manzarek are given plenty of time to stretch out. Twenty minutes or so later, the audience won't let The Doors leave the stage so a sloppy rendition of "Been Down So Long" is performed before the power is literally turned off.

What a frightening and yet wonderful night of music this must have been. The musicians in The Doors have always been a bit overshadowed by the cult of Jim Morrison and Live in Boston 1970 shows that Krieger, Manzarek and Densmore were true professionals. This isn't to negate Morrison's contributions; at times, he's simply awe inspiring and charismatic as ever. But vocally, it's just not one of his best performances. Still The Doors Live in Boston 1970 is very highly recommended. Excellent recording quality too!

Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Start
  2. All Right, All Right, All Right
  3. Roadhouse Moan
  4. Roadhouse Blues
  5. Ship of Fools
  6. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)
  7. Back Door Man
  8. Five to One
  9. When the Music's Over
  10. Rock Me
  11. Mystery Train
  12. Away in India
  13. Crossroads
  14. Prelude to Wake Up!
  15. Wake Up!
  16. Light My Fire
Disc Two
  1. Start
  2. Break on Through
  3. I Believe in Democracy
  4. When the Music's Over
  5. Roadhouse Blues
  6. The Spy
  7. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)
  8. Back Door Man
  9. Five to One
  10. Astrology Rap
  11. Build Me a Woman
  12. You Make Me Real
  13. Wait a Minute!
  14. Mystery Train
  15. Away in India
  16. Crossroads
Disc Three
  1. Band Intros
  2. Adolf Hitler
  3. Light My Fire
  4. Fever
  5. Summertime
  6. St. James Infirmary Blues
  7. Graveyard Poem
  8. Light My Fire (reprise)
  9. More, More More!
  10. Ladies & Gentlemen
  11. We Can't Instigate
  12. They Want More
  13. Been Down So Long
  14. Power Turned Off

Added: October 17th 2007
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: The Doors Website
Hits: 5537
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Doors, The: Live in Boston 1970
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-10-17 15:57:43
My Score:

I gotta admit, listening to this mammoth three-disc, three-hour-and-four-minute concert starring an absolutely blitzed Jim Morrison can be a little creepy. At the first stop on the tour in support of Morrison Hotel, which would turn out to be the singer's last stand with the band, The Doors played two arena sets on April 10, 1970, with Jimbo's three bandmates holding together performances that easily could have otherwise slipped into one of Dante's levels of hell. Guitarist Robby Krieger even writes in the liner notes that he had relegated this gig to "the shadowy part of the brain" and admits to feeling sorry for the audience that night. So why did this thing even see the light of day? Because it's a compelling listen to a pair of masterful sets that simultaneously reveal just how destructive and constructive a force The Doors could be at any given moment.

A cocksure Morrison lets loose with plenty of animalistic sound effects throughout both sets and often appears to be making more noises grunting, yelling, bellowing, howling, slurring than actually singing lyrics. When he does sing, he ad-libs often, and the audience (no doubt mesmerized by what must have been a surreal onstage spectacle) gets off on it.

This certainly shouldn't be a starting point for new listeners. But these raw recordings, which in the liner notes producer, mixer and engineer Bruce Botnick claims "technically leave a lot to be desired," stand as a time capsule of a night that would go down in Doors history. And, I daresay, nothing like it could ever happen today.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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