Absolutely Live, Doors

Published in Rolling Stone
By Gloria Vanjak

***Note: last sentence cuts off in the third paragraph

Elektra calls this double set an “organic documentary” which means they took a year to record it at various performances, splicing it together to sound like one ideal performance. It ain’t so ideal.
When Jim Morrison shows up drunk at a concert, that’s his privilege (problem?). But when so many of the cuts here proudly feature him in his cliffhanging condition, one wonders who is the loser—Morrison or the record buyer?
There are a few fine exceptions: “Who Do You Love,” “Build Me A Woman,” and Willie Dixon’s “Close To You,” but they account for about 15 minutes in an 80-minute set. We are then left with the rancid/poetic “Celebration of the Lizard,” (tightly performed, sure, but who wants to hear it more than once?), a mediocre new song, “Universal Mind,” which sounds like a single that would not have made it, plus the old war horse ”Five To One,” “Music’s Over,” etc. These are enlivened by Morrison’s humorous raps on life and liberty in concert hall America. To the groupies: “Now is that any way to behave at a rock and roll concert?” On the Miami incident: “Grown men were weeping…cops were turning in their badges.” He’s a riot doing his comedy number. It used to
But in the end we are left with the music, and when tackling his own material, the result is hysterical slaughter. Listen to his juvenile-soul rant at the close of “Five To One,” his intoxicated “Petition the Lord” intro to “Break On Through.” It’s enough to make you want to get up and punch him. What’s theater on stage is garbage on the turntable. Producer Rothchild must’ve chosen some of these cuts by Russian roulette.
The set ends with some circus humor: An MC instructs the audience to visit the concessions on the way out of the stadium. Ha! You’ve just spent $6.50 to see the show, now you’re going to browse through the head shop, and later you’re going to plunk down eight bucks for this album. Ha ha, very funny!
The cover, by the way, is strictly from the retouch lab.

-Gloria Vanjak

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