Originally released back in 1987 on vinyl and tape with no CD issue and also on video, the new version of the Doors’ ‘Live At The Bowl ‘68’ sees the whole show released whereas originally it was just a seven track highlighted version. It has also come out on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as CD and vinyl, and had a limited one day cinema release too.

At the start of 2012, it was said that it was going to the “year of the Doors.” Well, it wasn't at all. All we got was a remastered version of ‘L.A .Woman’ back in January, a new Ray Manzarek album and now we have this full gig finally released.

It was recorded at the Hollywood Bowl on July 5th 1968. The band had already been around for three years, and this live recording was made before the release of their third album, ‘Waiting for the Sun’, but ‘Hello, I Love You’, the first single from the album, was doing well and eventually reached number one in the United States charts. The Doors also did a rare thing before the show and actually rehearsed, although Jim dropped acid, and the other three members of the band –keyboardist Manazarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore – all took purple hearts.

The performance is stunning all the way through. It opens up with ‘When the Music's Over’, the closing number from their second album, ‘Strange Days’, which is an odd number to open up with. On record it lasts ten minutes, but here it is extended out even more lasting over fifteen minutes, The opening is eerie, dragging out each note, like the band are taking part in foreplay with the sell-out crowd. Ray's keyboards drift in and out, and, when Jim's vocal or scream joins in with the drums, it is almost like he has reached an instant sexual climax. ‘When the Music's Over’is all-consuming. The band were not afraid to speak their minds and it is about wanting change in a world that is falling apart.

The next batch of songs is short and sweet and played almost as a medley, running from ‘Alabama Song’ and ‘Back Door Man’, both of which are cover versions, to ‘Five to One’. ‘The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)’ gets a very early inclusion, not making it onto record until ‘L.A .Woman’ in 1971, The audience hold their breath to this prose piece. while the band assist gently with its odd instrumentation.

‘Hello, I Love You’ is as commercial as the band gets, while ‘Moonlight Drive’, the first song that Jim Morrison ever wrote and the song that started the band off on their trip, follows. ‘Horse Latitudes’ is another strange piece, almost like a free form jazz number with a touch of psychedelia, while ‘A Little Game, is poetry-based.

‘The Hill Dwellers’ has an Indian vibe, and a story as good as a film is contained in this tale. ‘Spanish Caravan, is a song that shows off the band's strengths, while ‘Wake Up’ is an angry slap in the face.

The band go for a finale, with set pieces of ‘Light My Fire’, which appears here in its long and dragged out, extended form; ‘Unknown Soldier’, which is a piece of rock theatre, and ‘The End’, which takes you on a sixteen minute long journey that isn’t always pleasant, but is very much worth taking all the same

‘Live at the Bowl ‘68’ is a great album which shows you how fantastic the Doors were as a live act.












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