The Doors

Backstage and Dangerous: The Private Rehearsal

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Enthusiasts who have fantasized about experiencing the Doors in a loose and unstructured environment get an hour-and-a-half dose of that reality in this two-disc set available through the band's own Bright Midnight Records. Although the music commences in a rather noncommittal fashion, there are a few moments of undiluted inspiration. This rehearsal was held on the day following two live performances (both of which are available as Live at the Aquarius Theatre) in Hollywood, CA, on July 21, 1969. The concept behind these recordings was to patch up some of the weaker moments from the previous afternoon and evening's live sets. In turn, the band's producer, Paul Rothchild, planned on using these tapes as the centerpiece of an upcoming live LP -- which would surface as Absolutely Live the following year. These recordings are completely unedited and reveal what by all accounts sounds like a frustrated and bored band. They aimlessly meander through the slow bluesy "I Will Never Be Untrue" and continue to struggle for direction as they wind their way through an uninspired arrangement of "Blue Sunday" as well as a cover version of "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further." However, a metamorphosis begins to take place during an unexpurgated nine-minute "Gloria" -- a G-rated and truncated version of which first surfaced on the 1983 live odds-and-sods compilation Alive, She Cried. Jim Morrison's sexually charged lyrical ad libs unleash a torrent of pent-up angst, releasing his poetically candid pre-Miami alter ego. This catharsis seems to be the portal required for the band to transform itself in a chooglin' medley of "Mystery Train/Crossroads." Ray Manzarek (keyboards) leads Robbie Krieger (guitar) and John Densmore (drums) through an X-rated reading of the St. Louis Jimmy Oden blues "I'm Your Doctor" -- with primal screams courtesy of Mr. Morrison -- and a comparatively staid reading of "Build Me a Woman." Of additional note are an embryonic "Cars Hiss By My Window," which sports the opening lines to "The Changling," another yet-to-be-released tune circa L.A. Woman. As the title intimates, Backstage and Dangerous: The Private Rehearsal is a raw examination of the Doors as they attempt to rediscover themselves as a live and self-contained unit. While all strata of Doors enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy, the tedium between the performances may prove excessive for some.

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