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The Doors - Absolutely Live CD (album) cover

ABSOLUTELY LIVE

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

3.67 | 56 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Doors Absolutely live !

Originally this double live album would have been a great record to listen to. Especially for European fans who have not been able to see the band very often although a short European tour was organized in 1968. Always a great event. At least when you could see them which is not my case (even if I was born in 1959, I was too young to have been able to attend one of their concert. Their fame has been built up around their live appearences and the impetuous and unpredictable attitude from their leader. Jim has learned the book from the French psychologue Gustave Le Bon "Psychology Of The Crowds".and has proved to be a great manipulator : he can turn a normal concert into a riot (like in Chicago, 1968), or turn an explosive atmosphere into quiteness (LA, December 1968).

This album will be completed with the release later on of the double CD "The Doors - In Concert" which I have also reviewed and contains part of these comments (but not all). The cut and paste technique used by Page in the soundtrack "The Song Remains The Same" has also be extensively used here. Rotschild, the Doors producer, will even say that :"There must be 2,000 edits on this album"!

There are some cover songs like The Doors were used to play in concert. "Who Do You Love" is the opening number of this concert. It sounds pretty as a Doors song actually. Probably that they "Doors-ized" it quite a bit. It is credited to McDaniel who is nobody else than ... Bo Didley.

Then, we'll get get a good medley with two shorten versions of "Wiskey Bar" (which is fine in this short format) and for "Back Door Man" which is rather a pity to have it cut by half since it is a very good cover song from Willie Dixon (the one who will have so many problems with Led Zep). "Love Hides" was unknown to me and the very good "Five To One" is rendered very nicely in its full lenght.

"Build Me a Woman" will be one of their classic live song but it had never been featured on a studio album (it is a simple but rhythmy blues song). "Universal Mind" is not bad but the "Poem" : "Petition the Lord with Prayers" is really dispensable.

Some of the songs were recorded in 1969-1970, a period in which Jim was already bored of the rock music and environment. He had already decided to stop singing. So, he doesn't seem to be very concerned with live performances any longer but he will still be very provocative (I speak about his later on when I describe the performance of "When The Music's Over").

Most of their hits or anthems are included here. Noticeable exception : "Hello, I Love You". The version of "Break It Through" is great (almost double its lenght).

There is a good interpretation of "When The Music's Over" (over fifteen minutes). During one of the quiet moments of the song, Jim was P.O. by the talks in the audience and starts to shout : "Shut Up"! (around 8'45) ...Ssssssh. Is this the way to be behave in a rock'n'roll concert ? You don't want to hear that for the next half hour or so, right? Ssssssssssssh. Alright : "We want the world and we want it free". Some gun shot sounds can be distinguively heard both prior to these scenes and later on. Exactly like during "Love March" from "The butterfield Blues Band" in thier Woodstock appearance. The protest for the Vietnam war is at his peak in the US and The Doors ware deeply involved in this movement (remember "The Unknown Soldier"). It is for me the best number of this album. Far much superior to the studio album. It is a brilliant digest of their extravanganza.

It must have been quite a messy concert towards the end of "Universal Mind" since one can easily hear someone (a cop ?), "Everyone off the stage". to follow, we'll get the introduction of "The Soft Parade", namely the part called "Petition the Lord with Prayers" followed with "Dead Cats, Dead Rats" which is an unknown track to me but apparently written by The doors since there are no mention of anybody else in the liner notes. This short number has a catchy rhythm and a nice organ sound. Not bad.

It flows nicely into a brilliant version of "Break on Through" : almost double its studio version and it really blows it up. Manzarek is absolutely fantastic here. The full power of this band on stage is reached here. So much different that in the studio (with some noticeable exceptions though).

Then "The Celebration Of The Lizard" : this "song" consists of some Jim's "poetry" and only exists in its entirety in live performances (I mention why in my review for "Waiting For the Sun"). This track (?) lasts for about sixteen minutes and is made of seven parts. It is basically a long recitation with some background music (definitely a source of inspiration for Patti Smith during her wonderful concerts).

The only true musical and great part (IMO) is "Not to Touch the Earth". It is this section that sits on the studio album (no wonder why). I could never entered the world of the lizard, sorry Jim.

The albums closes on a very good and extended version of "Soul Kitchen". Some additional instrumental moments and some "poetry" are added. It is far more dynamic than in studio and it is therefore a good way to end this work.

This album is far from being a "Best Of Live". Some numbers will never be released as such and the lenghty "Lizard" stuff is really difficult to get into. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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