Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012

The Doors at the Hollywood Bowl

By David Luhrssen
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  Jim Morrison’s arrests for onstage indecency have sometimes overshadowed the Doors’ prowess as a live band. But as the documentary film Live at the Bowl ’68 shows, the band was no mere spectacle waiting to happen but a sharp musical unit. Each song was a journey to an uncertain destination, a study in tension waiting for release. And it was a group effort with the professorial Ray Manzarek behind his keyboards, John Densmore anchoring the concert from his mountainous drum riser, Robbie Krieger calmly tearing off strangled blues-rock guitar solos and the prowling Morrison, looking “stoned, immaculate” and very young.

Much of Live at the Bowl ’68 has been available, but the new DVD and Blu-ray releases contain the entire concert for the first time. Bruce Botnick, who engineered many of the Doors’ studio recordings, has painstakingly restored the audio and visual. Live at the Bowl ’68 is an important document of its time, preserving a performance that remains compelling 45 years on.

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