Live in Vancouver 1970

The Doors

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Live in Vancouver 1970 Review

by Richie Unterberger

Had this two-CD set come out, or even been bootlegged, 30 years before its actual release in 2010, it would have been greeted as a revelation. Coming as it did after the official appearance of so many Doors concerts in decent fidelity on CD -- more than a dozen discs' worth, in fact, from 1970 alone -- it was a little harder to get worked up about these recordings from their June 6, 1970 show in Vancouver, made with two on-stage microphones on a reel-to-reel. Not because of the fidelity, which is actually pretty good, if not as state-of-the-art as some other Doors concert tapes. But if you've collected a lot of the other live Doors CDs that have been made available, there aren't too many surprises to be had, with yet more versions of live staples like "Roadhouse Blues," "Alabama Song," "Back Door Man," "Five to One," and "When the Music's Over" that don't differ too radically from how they were usually done. After those faves have played out during the first part of disc one, however, things do get more interesting, with a performance of "Love Me Two Times" and, more notably, the blues covers "Little Red Rooster," "Money," "Rock Me," and "Who Do You Love." They're not done brilliantly -- blues covers were never the Doors' forte -- but they do feature a surprise guest appearance by blues great Albert King on slide guitar, though of these, only a seven-minute "Who Do You Love" (with some improvised lyrics in the middle) really cooks. Side two is given over almost entirely to a 17-minute rendition of "Light My Fire" that briefly incorporates snippets of "St. James Infirmary" and "Fever," followed by a finale of "The End" that lasts about as long. Other bits of interest to hardcore fans are found in a between-song Jim Morrison rap, where he exclaims in praise of Vancouver, "You can't imagine how refreshing it is to come out of a sewer like Los Angeles and breathe some fresh air for a change." He also well-intentionedly, if inaccurately, hails the blues as "about the only original art form America has created in 200 years." In sum, it's another special Doors live edition that's pretty much limited in appeal to those hardcore fans. Of course the Doors justifiably have more such hardcore fans than almost any other band, and like other Rhino archive live releases of the group, the package is both done with care and clearly marked for what it is.

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