The Austin Chronicle

Box Sets

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, December 11, 2009, Music

The Doors

Live in New York (Rhino)

Richard Burton on a bender, that's how we remember Jim Morrison live. The remaining Doors and Rhino's continuing pipeline of vintage performances prove otherwise, whether Internet-only (2001's two Live at the Aquarius Theatre sets, 2002's 2-CD Backstage and Dangerous: The Private Collection, and 2003's 4-CD Boot Your Butt! The Doors Bootlegs) or commercial tantalizers: 2007's Live in Boston 1970 and last year's 2-CD Live at the Matrix 1967. Given the disjointed bloat of the group's sole live release in Morrison's lifetime, 1970's Absolutely Live, the new 6-CD Live in New York, whose four-show run over two nights at Madison Square Garden's smaller stage contributed to Absolutely Live, actually strengthens and streamlines that same tour's audio. Morrison Hotel sponsored the Los Angeles quartet's '70 trek, which, save for the singer's swan song L.A. Woman, drew from all points of the catalog, highlighted early by funk protest "Peace Frog" kicking into Hotel roommate "Blue Sunday." The second set inserts John Lee Hooker's (and L.A. Woman's) "Crawling King Snake" before Weimar Republican Kurt Weill's "Alabama Song," which stokes the "poontang blues" of "Build Me a Woman." Morrison comes out barking the next evening, the band relaxed on a night kitchen take of "Moonlight Drive," guitarist Robbie Krieger unleashing liquid steel. "Peace Frog" reappears later that set, "Celebration of the Lizard" convulsing into Waiting for the Sun's "Not to Touch the Earth," and Morrison deciding to "Petition the Lord With Prayer" and screams. "This whole thing is being taped for eternity," announces the singer. He would know.


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