Doors Collector's Edition
of a great Compilation
by Jim Bray
Not to be confused
with Oliver Stone's movie, "The Doors Collection" is a terrific
example of how DVD technology can be used to showcase an artist's body
Edition" DVD includes three previously-released Doors video collections,
along with a bunch of newer stuff added as bonus material. It's a package
sure to please Doors fans, even though I (as a Doors fan) would have included
some titles that were omitted from this collection if I'd been asked to
put it together.
Naturally I wasn't
asked, and since I don't know what Doors classics have video footage available,
this may be the best they could get. And despite my wish for more stuff,
it's still pretty darn good.
The three titles included
on this DVD are "Dance on Fire," "The Doors Live at Hollywood
Bowl" and "The Soft Parade." The latter of the three is
by far the weakest entry (despite it being my favorite Doors album), being
a particularly self-indulgent effort with far too much pretention and
far too little music. It also has the worst audio of the trio.
So don't buy "The
Doors Collection" for "The Soft Parade." Buy it for the
other two reissues and the bonus material, which are terrific.
Incidentally, a complete
list of the songs and other materials appears at the bottom of this review.
"Dance on Fire"
is a collection of Doors videos and/or concert footage and it's great,
though I would have liked to see even more music and a little less of
Morrison's poetic excesses. The stereo audio, which for the most part
was recorded thirty-odd years ago, has come through really well, and sounds
excellent. Universal Home Video appears to have used the original albums'
recordings for these videos, which is a good idea since the Doors' records
sounded very good right out of the box.
They've even done
a good job of retroactively lip synching the footage to the sound...
"Live at Hollywood
Bowl" is exactly what it claims, and the band played very well that
night. There's too much footage of Jim Morrison, though I suppose that's
understandable, but the overall picture quality is fine. Audio, too, is
first rate considering its genesis, although I noticed some distortion
coming from Morrison's microphone periodically. Then again, the way Morrison
eats the poor mic during this performance, it's surprising it sounds as
good as it does.
"The Soft Parade"
ignores great songs, like "Tell all the People" and "Runnin'
Blue," but gives us yet another version of "The Unknown Soldier
(each segment features that song - good song, but one version would be
enough). It also adds "Hello I Love You," and "The Changeling,"
which is nice. Unfortunately, the audio on this collection is substandard
compared with the other entries.
The abundance of bonus
materials includes an audio commentary by the surviving members of the
band; I particularly enjoyed their memories of the Hollywood Bowl concert.
There's also a section of Doors' memorabilia and photographs by Henry
Diltz. These are undoubtedly wonderful touches for Doors diehards.
More interesting is
the inclusion of "Riders on the Storm," a segment from drummer
John Densmore's one-man show in which he reminisces about life and the
band, and Keyboardist Ray Manzarek's student films "Evergreen"
Talk about Doors trivia!
Another nice bit is
Robby Krieger's more contemporary performance of "The End,"
in which one finally gets the opportunity to watch the guitarist in action
without him being overshadowed by Jim Morrison.
Even the liner notes
are reasonably full, with a list of all the materials on the nearly three
hour collection, some photos, and a short essay "Doors' film/video
On the whole, this
is an excellent compilation of Doors stuff. I'd have preferred to see
the cuts mixed and matched into a true "Greatest Hits" collection
(though, admittedly, this would be difficult to do without breaking up
the concert - and I like the concert the way it's presented), instead
of three separate videos on one disc, but that's a pretty nitpicky point.
So if you're a Doors
fan, get thee to your nearest DVD retailer and pick up this disc.
I'm really thrilled
with this DVD because it shows just how well the format can be used for
compilations. I hope to see many more discs like this, showcasing the
collected works of all my favorite artists.
Are you listening,
Dance on Fire includes:
Break on Through
People are Strange
Light My Fire
Love Me Two Times
Riders on the Storm
The Doors Live
at the Hollywood Bowl includes:
When the Music's Over
Back Door Man/Five to One
Moonlight Drive/Horse Latitudes/Celebration of the Lizard excerpts
Light My Fire
When the Music's Over
The Soft Parade
Build Me a Woman
The Soft Parade
Hello I Love You
Audio Commentary by Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger
"Evergreen" and "Induction" student films
Henry Diltz Photographs
John Densmore "Riders on the Storm"
Robby Krieger's "The End"
The Doors Collection,
from Universal Home Video
Dual layer DVD, 172 minutes, full frame, stereo (mostly)
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