The Doors Live At The Bowl '68 (Blu-Ray)

The Doors

Eagle Rock Entertainment/Rhino, 2012

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Every once in a while, things work out just about perfect for a rock group, and so it was for The Doors when they performed July 5, 1968, at the Hollywood Bowl. That performance has now been remastered from the original camera negatives and tapes. The film presents the concert in a pristine form. I have seen this concert film in the past and the upgrade in quality is startling, which is a testament to modern technology. The result is about as close as one can come to actually being at a Doors concert.

The highlight of the release is the inclusion of three previously unreleased tracks, which had never been included due to technical difficulties. Now, “Hello I Love You,” “The WASP,” and “Spanish Caravan” have returned making the original concert complete.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It was a different concert experience musically, as the The Doors were only three albums into their career. Many of their well-known songs had not been created, so the set list was limited to their early career period. Some of these songs would disappear from their set list as time passed and it is nice to see them performed with passion and power.

It is a rare concert when well-known songs such as “Light My Fire,” “Five To One,” and “Hello I Love You” take a back seat to “Back Door Man,” “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar),” “Moonlight Drive,” and “Spanish Caravan.” They even included “Horse Latitudes” from their Strange Days album.

The album ended with back to back performances of “The Unknown Soldier” and “The End.” Jim Morrison is at his best as he prowls the stage bringing the concert to a satisfying climax.

While the focus was always on front man Morrison; keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore were integral not only to the sound but to the visual concert experience.

There are a number of bonuses here, including a history of the Hollywood Bowl, how the film was restored, and members talking about the experience. Two rare performances, “Wild Child” from a 1968 Smothers Brothers television episode and “Light My Fire” from the 1967 Jonathan Winters Show, are resurrected on this release.

The Doors as a band and Jim Morrison are long gone, but Live At The Bowl ’68 is a fine testament to their legacy as one of rock history’s better live bands. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Rating: A

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© 2012 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle Rock Entertainment/Rhino, and is used for informational purposes only.