Shock, M, 536 Mins
The Doors might have only been active from 1965 until 1973 (two years after the death of ‘Lizard King’ frontman Jim Morrison) and yet they remain one of the greatest and most mysticised of all rock bands, not least for the distinctive and evocative keyboard work of the founding member and recently-late Ray Manzarek, surely one of the most underappreciated figures in popular music.
Anyway, this cool four DVD set (in a box with – guess who? – Jim’s face adorning it) features the following…
R-Evolution: A recent 19-strong collection of remastered clips of their hits, from promotional videos to live performances to TV appearances to ‘80s cash-in turns after Morrison’s demise. Highlights include: the 1967 video for Break On Through (To The Other Side) and their miming of the song on Shebang; Light My Fire on American Bandstand and Malibu U; People Are Strange, both on Murray The K In New York (awkwardly) and in a later clip put together for one of their anniversaries; Hello, I Love You for German TV; Touch Me from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (and the Smotherses seem pretty embarrassed by it); a 1970 music video of Roadhouse Blues; a montage of chaotic onstage images set to their take on Gloria; and a ‘music film’ of Ghost Song from 1995 in which the surviving members perform to a track of Jim singing and his phantom-like image joins them in the studio, an effect that’s as tacky as it sounds.
Live At The Bowl ’68: The Doors captured live on film at the Hollywood Bowl just before Jim started being too out of it to perform, and apparently the only complete concert film of them ever produced, this offers fine, rowdy and raunchy versions of When The Music’s Over, Alabama Song, Light My Fire, Spanish Caravan, The Unknown Soldier and more.
Feast Of Friends: A basically unfinished doco made by The Doors themselves as they toured in the summer of 1968, there’s no doubt that diehard fans will like this long-unseen, remastered and restored study, even though there’s not enough music (a live version of The End will have to do) and more than enough right-on Film-School pretension.
L.A. Woman: This retrospective 2011 documentary follows the recording of The Doors’ last album with Jim, and while the songs aren’t included in their entirety it’s still worth it for glimpses of Love Her Madly, Riders On The Storm and more, as well as interviews with guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore and Manzarek, who must have got royally sick of talking about nothing but Jim for more than 40 years, although he was always nice about it.
(Bonus Features: All the discs except Feast have everything from short docos and outtakes to extra interviews, bonus tracks, pieces on the restoration process and more)