"I guess we all could have expected this from the Doors, after all
they are the masters, OF RELEASING THE SAME STUFF 15 TIMES!
The Doors are the kings of re-release (with the Who coming in a close second). There are about 10 or 15 US "greatest hits" albums and about 5 imported ones. If that says anything to you at all, than it probably says that this set was a rip off.There are some good songs like, "Black Train Song", "Hyacinth House", and "Celebration of the Lizard" but on the whole this set wasn't whole!The first disc starts out with a preformance of "Five to One" that was apparently included solely because it was recorded the night Jim Morrison allegedly exposed himself. The sound quality and even preformance quality are horrible! Disc one has severly edited takes of several no-fi bootleg transfers that have been overdubbed just recently (at least when other bands do that i.e. the Beatle's "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird" they tell you that it's just magnetic tape). The Doors try to pass it off as original. There are four or five annoying 1965 demos that are just that, terrible cheap leftover, demos. Disc 2 however is the master of all the overdub lies. The Doors/Elektra would have you believe that this is a full preformance at Madison Square Garden, but it is actually a collection of tracks from four preformances at the Felt Forum, linked together by ovedubbed (also known as fake) crowd noise.
The worst case of that being "Gloria" which was actually recorded at a sound check in front of an empty auditorium in LA. First, that's not live, and its on the opposite end of the country from New York. "Hello To The Cities" that kicks off the first disc (and effectivly scuttles it) is, get this, a combo of the Ed Sullivan preformance and Jim saying the names of a bunch of cities at a concert in Detroit. Several tracks labled as "Live" actually aren't. I.E. "Mental Floss" was a sound check. "The Soft Parade" is a combo of the studio recording and a recording for an empty studio (save a few video cameras) for TV. "Orange County Suite" was just recently overdubbed (1996), naturally they don't admit it. The real insult to injury was disc 4, the infamous "Band Favorites" disc (read any review on this box, and even the fans of it will question its inclusion). Nothing is wrong with Elektra releasing a "Band Favorites Disc", except that any one with this set already had those tracks (remember, 15 US "hits" albums). Worse still it is just a way to swindle you out of fifteen more dollars/yen/euros, whatever. There is nothing wrong with making, and charging for a three disc set, were they worried that people wouldn't buy it if it was three discs? I mean, that's what the linear notes are for, just tell us your sixteen favorite songs, and well listen to them in that order, or whatever.This was a real dissapointment and after being so excited, driving home from the music store with this set cluched firmly in my hands... putting disc 1 in my discman and then realising I had been, like so many other devoted fans, crapped on. I'm sure Morrison rolled over in his grave the day this was released."
Deceptive. Bloated. Padded. Unremarkable.
Highway 61 Revisited | Dallas, TX USA | 04/15/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a longtime Doors fan, and I eagerly awaited the release of this box. In fact, I picked it up on the day of its release--back in the fall of 1997. 3 and half years later, I'm reviewing it here. Heed my warnings.First, there are a handful of wonderful tracks here, such as the jazz reading of "Queen of the Highway," the beautiful ballad "I Will Never Be Untrue" and the demo of Hyacinth House. The Black Train suite is also interesting, as is the outtake version of Moonlight Drive.Ok, now let's get down to what's wrong with this box.1. The track sequencing does not flow well; out of chronological order, the programming order is truly bizarre.2. There is no complete live performance. Disc 2, "Live in New York", is actually a heavily edited composite of 4 different shows at the Felt Forum in January 1970, plus the deceptive inclusion a soundcheck of Gloria, recorded the previous summer (1969) in an audienceless hall in Los Angeles. This is not noted on the box, as the Doors/Sugarman would have you believe this is one complete live performance in Madison Square Garden.3. Rock is Dead outro is edited and Albinoni's Adagio is inserted between the two pieces. That edit is very indulgent and bizarre.4. Soft Parade. The version on the box is the live performance on Public TV in 1969. However, the intro (You cannot petition the Lord) segment from the TV special is cut out. Instead, Doors/Sugarman/Botnick have spliced on (in mono form) the intro from the studio recording/ blending it with the live performance. Absolutely bizarre. 5. Disc 4. Band favorites. Come on. Anyone purchasing this box already has all of these tracks! This is transparent padding, bloating the box, and beefing up the price. 6. Where are great tracks like Paris Blues? Queen of the Magazines? etc.7. Only two selections from the Matrix performance--dubbed off a low fidelity bootleg, which had been NoNoised. There are other bootleg sources available which sound better.8. Who Scared You is the dubbed, edited version (missing a verse)--not the original master recording. Sloppy tape research.9. Lots of date errors on the packaging. For example, the PBS recordings are listed as 1970, but were in fact recorded in the spring of 1969. "I Will Never Be Untrue" is listed as a 1970 recording, but was in fact recorded in the summer of 1969.10. Whiskey Mystics and Men does not feature the original instrumentation, but rather overdubs which were made years later.11. Overdubs on the live disc 2. There is some unconfirmed speculation that Krieger overdubbed guitar parts in 1996, glossing over the 1970 "New York" disc.Conclusion: a few great moments here. Lots of poor moments. Lots of deception. Poor research. Many historical inaccuracies. Disc 4 is a waste of time and a transparent exploitation of Doors fans. Stay away. Don't encourage the surviving Doors to put out more of this kind of mediocre product."
Flipping off the fans
N. P. Stathoulopoulos | Brooklyn, NY | 08/20/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Doors have to be one of the worst bands when it comes to giving the (smart) fans something of real value and something they really want. This boxset was the one people were waiting for forever, but it turns out to be disappointing. As usual, we have the same old spliced together tracks claiming to be from one venue. The Black Train song is great, BUT...it's literally cut in half. It should run about 25 minutes, not 12(!) The Isle of Wight track? If this is any indication of how the official Doors Isle of Wight disc sounds, folks, the bootleg of this show is excellent UNTOUCHED, NOT OVERDUBBED AND NOT REMIXED soundboard. The echo effects, the blatant Kreiger overdubs and the overproduction on old tracks is shameless. The Doors are always trying to make themselves sound better in concert than they did. AND in the studio! Listen to the cleaned up Rock is Dead. Why is it only 16 minutes? Isn't the bootleg version of this bit about 22 minutes long? Where is a live version of Touch Me? Why don't they use ONE Felt Forum show instead of butchering the tapes of 4 different ones? Where is Paris Blues? Why is Someday Soon CUT?! Why, in the name of God, do we need a band favorites disc??! That, right there, is one of the most lame things any band has done on a boxset. RIPPING OFF THE FANS! The Doors get no respect when it comes to respecting the fans. I'll be dead and in hell long before they decide to let the dozens of Absolutely Live and Feast of Friends recorded concerts see the light of day!"
N. P. Stathoulopoulos | Brooklyn, NY | 07/30/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Doors Box Set only proves yet again that the Doors and Elektra Records are not very good to their fans when it comes to releasing material. THIS is the box set fans eagerly awaited for years? Three discs, not even full length, and a fourth, completely useless collection of more hits. The great parts are: all of the demos, the Black Train Song on Disc 1, finally a release on CD of Who Scared You? (WHERE is You Need Meat (Don't Go No Further)??), Queen of the Highway, Hyacinth House, and a couple of other rare bits. The Live in New York disc is a sham. This is not live in New York, this is merely the Doors once again splicing together parts of different tracks from DIFFERENT concerts and claiming the tracks are from ONE show. Gloria is the uncensored version from In Concert, and Celebration of the Lizard is chopped up and shorter. Naturally, as well, the Doors over-produced old material to make it sound like it was recorded yesterday (and so they sound better than they were.) Robbie Kreiger even overdubbed his own guitars 27 years later on some tracks(!) The Soft Parade? Um, we HAVE this version on the Video of the Soft Parade. What about something we DON'T have or DON'T know? What about the OTHER, BETTER, version recorded of Someday Soon? What about ALL of those shows recorded for Absolutely Live and Feast of Friends? Dozens of complete, soundboard shows sitting collecting dust in the Doors archives. I was kind of pleased when I got this the first day, and then the excitement wore off when I realized that the box wasn't really so great. It looks nice, has a nice booklet, but it reeks of big money (it was not cheap) and it certainly skimped on the rare and wanted material. The fans want something of quality, like four full discs of rare live and studio stuff NOT over-produced and NOT chopped up. (They chop off the first few notes of Someday Soon and have over-dubbed crowd noise, butchering the beginning of that great track.) I must admit the job on Orange County Suite is very nice, though. But I believe that the Doors attempt to exercise too much nervous control over the stuff they release to the public. Like we can't hear them out of tune live or messing up or not mixed so perfectly. Give us the stuff! It's no wonder people continue to gobble up Doors bootlegs, where you can even find a longer version of Rock is Dead and Jim Morrison's poetry readings. NOT recommended for anyone except a serious Doors fan."
Perfect imperfections! A worthy look at The Doors.
J. R. Cagle | Saint Charles, MO | 12/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dont let the negative reviews keep you from getting this box set from The Doors. Sure the sound quality does vary but its everything that made the group appealing. The live disc is the BEST DOORS live set regardless of where its from and has great renditions of Celebration of the Lizzard and The End. The third disc has a great overall feel of some of the Doors best songs with superb live cuts like Crystal Ship from The Matrix and a nice cheerful song about death called Someday Soon. The first disc has the infamous Five to One from the notorious Miami performance and great renditions of Queen of the Highway and Who Scared you. Sure this set isnt perfect. Rock is dead sounds nothing more than a disjointed mess of recording space and Mental Floss is Jim's poetic muses at its worst but overall there is much to like about this set. Is it perfect? Nope, its everything that was great and pompous, chilling and dysfuntional. In short this Box Set is The Doors as personal as a fingerprint warts and all for those who wish to hear."