I attended six or seven Doors concerts and this perhaps was the best. The sound: crisp. The playlist: inspired. The audience:alive! Loved every minute of it. Glad to have the CD set in my library. Special today: the day Manzarek died.
Felt Forum - Show 1
Recorded just a few weeks before the release of Morrison Hotel - these concerts find Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek locked in tight as they deliver smoking takes on soon-to-be-classics from their forthcoming album, including “Roadhouse Blues,” “Peace Frog,” “Ship Of Fools,” and “Maggie M'Gill.” The shows also feature a number of driving blues covers, such as Bo Diddley's “Who Do You Love,” Howlin' Wolf's “Back Door Man,” and John Lee Hooker's “Crawling King Snake.” “Those were the bluesy songs we always used to do,” Krieger says. “We probably hadn't done some of them in years, but we had resurrected them for these shows.”
In 1969, the year prior to these shows, The Doors became one of the first rock bands to play New York City's Madison Square Garden. When they returned in 1970, Densmore says they chose to play the Felt Forum, a smaller venue at the Garden. “It was more intimate, and you could feel the audience more,” he says. “There was more interaction, and the acoustics were much better, because it was designed for music.”
Manzarek hails these shows as a return to the group's early days, when they used to play a club called London Fog. “I mean, talk about going back to basics. We used to do four sets a night at the London Fog, and we only had a small block of songs written up to that time. So we would do other people's material. And in New York, it was like the same thing as the London Fog. We've got four shows to play here, two sets tonight, two sets tomorrow night. Let's play whatever we want! Let's just go!”
Go they did. Along with a mix of then-unheard new songs and old covers, the band also tapped into its 1967, self-titled debut, peppering the set lists with signature songs such as “Break On Through (To The Other Side),” “Soul Kitchen,” “The End,” and “Light My Fire,” The Doors' first #1 hit.
For the final show of the Felt Forum stand, the band was joined onstage by two guests - The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian (who played harmonica on the studio version of “Roadhouse Blues”) and drummer Dallas Taylor, who'd played on Crosby, Stills & Nash's debut. Sebastian sat in for “Rock Me” and was joined by Taylor for “Going To N.Y. Blues” and “Maggie M'Gill.”
Fans will be blown away by the crisp sound found on LIVE IN NEW YORK. All four shows were mixed and mastered by the band's longtime engineer, Bruce Botnick, who recorded a number of shows from The Doors' 1970 tour on multi-track tape for the Absolutely Live album. While most of the music contained on LIVE IN NEW YORK is unreleased, a few songs (and portions of songs) surfaced in 1970 on Absolutely Live and in 1997 on Box Set.
Sadly, these shows represent The Doors' final New York City performances with Morrison, who passed away July 3, 1971.