The following review was submitted by fan Dion Baia about Live In Vancouver. Enjoy, and if you haven't grabbed your copy yet, get it here. http://ow.ly/3Bvc4
We have Vince Treanor to thank for being able to listen to The Doors’ performance in Vancouver on June 6th, 1970. Treanor was the band’s road manager from 1967 until the end in 1972, when the band, post Morrison’s death, finally decided to initially break up. He had the peace of mind to record this, among other shows on a little SONY tape player. For that, legions of Doors fans will be eternally grateful. Up until this time, the 1970 “Roadhouse Blues Tour” was being professionally recorded through the soundboard for the upcoming live album release, “Absolutely Live” which ended up coming out at the end of June of the same year. By the night of this show, one would think that the live album’s assembly would of been completed and now was just being mixed and tweaked, so there would no longer be the need to record the rest of the bands tour. But luckily, Mr. Treanor thought differently, and I personally thank him for it.
The show’s sound has a bootleg feel to it because of the method of recording, but that does not at all dampen the quality, it only adds to its allure and mythos. It is completely remastered and like the prior live show releases, we have the entire show from the first sounds of the reel to reel getting up to speed, to the dispersing of the crowd afterward. Up until now, bootlegs of this Vancouver show were available, but to find a copy of the complete recording was next to impossible, up there with finding complete recordings of “The Matrix Tapes”, “Live in Stockholm” or the complete “Felt Forum”, from January of the same here (see my last review). Here it finally is, the entire set in all its glory, uncut.
Vancouver’s show is unique for a couple of reasons. The most blatant, of course is the blues legend Albert King sitting in on a handful of songs. He was booked for various dates on the 1970 tour, and like most great jazz and blues artists, it didn’t take that much convincing to get them to come up and jam when prompted.
But another important point to remember about this performance is it’s date. The band had been touring since January, to promote “Morrison Hotel”, their 5th album release and it seemed to be starting to take a toll on the band, especially Morrison. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember here is that after this concert, the band only performed publicly 5 more times with Morrison before the tour fell apart in on Dec 12th in New Orleans. One could speculate until the cows came home why this happened, but I’m sure the exhaustion of a by then an 11 month US city tour, mixed with a very serious court case in which jail was a real concern, and other personal problems would stress anyone out. Which is another reason to shake Mr. Treanor’s hand next time you see him, for recording this.
Vancouver is a real treasure to own and be able to take in. Artistically, it exemplifies where the band was leaning, which was getting back to their roots, the stripped down, Southside Chicago style blues. They were also really starting to explore something they always did to a certain extent, which was jam. By that I mean playing a song for almost twenty minutes, improvising and exploring everywhere you could go with it, like the great figures in jazz had been doing, and contemporaries like “The Grateful Dead”& “The Allman Brothers” had begun to do.
The show opens with “Roadhouse Blues”, a laid back, strong version that starts the ball rolling and sets the tone for the night. It’s going to be about the blues. One can hear that the band is now quite comfortable playing this new song live, almost like they had been playing it for years, and it unfolds just like what it’s about, a journey, trucking along, going to that old roadhouse. Manzarek really stands out in this show; pulling out all that dirty blues he has oozing off his fingers, laying a superb foundation for the band to work off of. Next they start their tight medley of Kurt Weill’s “Alabama Song”, Willie Dixon’s “Backdoor Man” and their own “Five to One”, a great combination the band had perfected two years prior. The medley really lets the man stretch out and get warmed up for the rest of the show.
Next is their epic “When the Music’s Over”, a song the band loved to play live and seemed to drop in to their set around the same place every show, almost as the act one finale. Densmore really shines on this cut, showing off that jazzy “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers” feel that he loved to interject and was known for, dropping in fills and cracks in the down points that really give the song that power of a thunderstorm in the distance, with silence immediately interrupted by large hits of thunder. Morrison, who seems to be a tad hoarse tonight, dropping his voice an octave at certain moments or staying away from the high notes, still proves that when needed, he can generate those high notes the song may demand, despite his throat’s current condition. This is a talent not commonly seen by most singers, to be able to successfully have that range even though your tone and pitch is registering quite low (see Tom Waits). He also interjects the “Something wrong, something not quite right” and “Confusion” poems into the middle of the song, two pieces he liked to utilize in the early days while developing the song, which he then resurrected and used on this tour.
“Love Two Times” is pulled off next without a hitch and then the real fun begins when Morrison introduces Albert King who comes up to sit in with them. This is a point I’ve heard critics complain about in this series of live recordings that have been released, where there is a chunk of silence in between songs, consisting of tuning up and the band regrouping. These spaces seem to go on too long for some people’s tastes, which I totally disagree with. I love how the editors included this and did not cut this filler from between the tracks because one can turn up the volume and get an almost behind the scenes chat of what key the band wants to play in say or what song they would like to do next. Some of this can actually be quite funny and for me, is a real pleasure to listen to (see live in Detroit’s encore with Morrison talking about what songs they can do in what key with what harps they have on hand).
The band then along with Albert King and his famous flying V guitar, “Lucy”, break into a series of old blues numbers, to let everyone jam out to. First they perform Big Mamma Thornton’s “Little Red Rooster”, then the classic “Money”, before wrapping up with BB King’s “Rock Me” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” The band really shines here and seemed humbled by sharing the stage with such a blues icon. Mr. King really shows off his skills with “Lucy”on “Little Red Rooster” and “Who Do You Love?” even adding Diddley’s famous little riff in the latter song. He and Krieger really interact well and the others really seem to dig the relaxed jam session.
After the blues great leaves the stage, the band ends the show with brilliant versions of two of The Doors stables. First Morrison recites the “Petition the Lord with Prayer” poetry, as to say they are going into “The Soft Parade” but instead surprises the audience with the crowd favorite “Light My Fire”. The band began to have problems with this song as they became famous, with audiences increasingly wanting to hear this hit, while the band wanted to not only play the chart toppers but also the blues covers, or the other material they were working on. (Urban legend even has it that Morrison would ask the crowd what they would want to hear, then after the crowd shouted “Light My Fire”, the band would wickedly instead play “The Celebration of the Lizard”!). This version of “Light My Fire” is by far my favorite version ever, and for me, aside from the Albert King sit in, the reason one should have this album in your library. The band takes a new approach to the song, by extensively jamming out in the middle of it, nodding their hats to almost every other form of music, showing how intelligent and cultured the band was.
This may be some of Krieger’s best soloing here, culminating with him riffing into The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and then into John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”. After Manzarek and Krieger duel it out, it is Morrison’s turn to solo, and boy, he doesn’t disappoint. Under the “Light My Fire” rhythm Morrison starts off by going into Peggy Lee’s “Fever” before heading into the Gershwin songbook classic, “Summertime” from “Porgy & Bess”. He then ventures into my absolute favorite, the blues/New Orleans funeral stable “St. James Infirmary”, before going back into “Fever” to finish the medley out. He then throws in his “There you Sit!” poem, something Morrison use to insert in the early days in the last half of “Break on Through”. The band then brings the song back to its head and its conclusion. The group really shows here how in tune they were, acting as almost a single mind, and it my opinion, really gave some insight into where they may have ventured in the future, in a live setting as they continued to perform.
They wrap the concert up with a great version of “The End”, where echo effects are added to Manzerak’s Vox and Morrison’s voice, giving the song a haunting, almost gothic feel. The singer adds his “Across the Sea” poem to the song, which is evidence to the claim that the group never performed it the same way twice. This closes out the show and clearly leaves the crowd wanting more, to which the announcer says no encore can be performed because they cannot go past midnight. It sounds hilarious, but evidently this was a huge problem for concerts of this era. Go figure.
But what a genuine treat it is to have this concert finally be issued officially in it’s entirely, fully remastered. This release really gives new hope to hardcore fans that other obscure performances (Hawaii of the same year, anything from the 1968 European tour, or the notoriously rare last known live recording with Morrison from December 11th 1970 in Dallas, where they debuted three songs from their upcoming album, “LA Woman”; it also being the only time “The Changeling”, “Love Her Madly” and “LA Woman” were performed live with Morrison) will see the light of day, fully remastered to the best of today’s technology. But for now, we get to cherish another stellar release from the band’s vaults and reflect on what a tragic loss it was to the world with the event that occurred in a small Paris apartment in the early morning hours of July 3rd, 1971.
Buy Live In Vancouver here: http://ow.ly/3Bvc4