Live in Hollywood: Highlights from the Aquarius Theater is, as its title suggests, a ten-track single-CD distillation of the two sets the Doors performed at the Aquarius Theater on July 21, 1969. Both shows are likewise available in their entirety on the band's own Bright Midnight Records label. This sampler accurately captures the underlying tensions and languid spirit that kept these shows under wraps for over three decades. It is this very palpable, impending vibe that allowed the band to perform in the moment and likewise makes this release an apt microcosm of what live Doors shows were all about. The primal urgency that defined the pre-Miami Doors concert experience was conspicuously absent from both performances. Although the band had lost none of its energy, it had been transmuted into a different kind of show for the performers and audience alike. The mood had turned and the band's newer material, such as "I Will Never Be Untrue" and "Build Me a Woman," reflects an introverted and blues-driven quartet. This shift is likewise felt in the band's choice of cover material. The Doors sound right at home with "Who Do You Love" and "Rock Me Baby." Additionally, one of guitarist Robbie Krieger's most impassioned performances is delivered during "Little Red Rooster." The strength and affinity for the blues would follow through on the band's final two studio albums -- Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman. For enthusiasts interested in hearing the Doors run through some of their own hits, this sampler offers a contrast in the explosive "Touch Me" and the solemn "Crystal Ship." This is an unfortunate misrepresentation of the two sets, which also contained emotive and often volatile offerings such as "Light My Fire," "When the Music's Over," and the as-of-yet unreleased "Blue Sunday."
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer