Concert review: The Doors were somewhat a jar (1970)

The Doors, musically, were somewhat a jar

By Preston Reese

By the time the Doors’ Jim Morrison mounted the Long Beach Arena’s stage Saturday, his audience of 12,000 teenyboppers had already had their young heads blown hither and yon by a series of uppers and downers from the other groups.

The Doors, a hard-rock group, first came into attention three years ago with their hit record “Light My Fire.” More recently the group was publicized when its lead singer, Jim Morrison, was arrested for “lewd and lascivious behavior” during a Florida concert.

doors-concert-long-beach-feb-1970The concert opened with The Flying Burrito Brothers, a group of ex-Byrd members who offered their usual mediocre country-western sampling.

Albert King’s hour-long set followed and brought the audience up with doses of blues-rock, but brought them right back down again when he switched to “heavy” blues, featuring “You’re So Mean To Me.”

King’s technically excellent band had its own cheering squad in what seemed to have been a 90 percent Doors-fan audience, which showed little response to the harsh, beatless type of blues with which he closed his set. The same empty mood prevailed through most of the Doors’ part of the concert, too.

Morrison was in terrible voice, plodding through most of his songs with no attempt at styling or building climaxes.

Although he prodded the audience several times with, “turn out the light!” at the top of his voice during “When the Music’s Over,” he couldn’t seem to recapture this old Morrison style, which at one time took very little trying, which was part of the style itself.

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Robby Krieger’s guitar carried a half-hour version of “Light My Fire,” with tight transitions into “Summertime” and various improvised songs by Morrison, who threw in a choppy harmonica solo, which didn’t help the song any, although he was boosted by half the audience, which lighted matches.

Morrison’s repertoire included all the “big ones”… applause-getters which proved themselves years ago, such as, “Soul Kitchen” and “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar).”

He introduced a couple of new songs which didn’t fare too well, along with “I’m a Spy” and “Gloria,” the latter having hinted the concert might improve after all, but soon it was 11:30 pm, the concert was about to close, and after “When the Music’s Over,” the house lights were up.

Morrison asked: “Does anybody have to be home early?… Turn those lights off, man.” And then he really got into it, with “Love Me Two Times.”

In answering shouts from the audience requesting “Crystal Ship” and “Touch Me,” Morrison asked the audience to decide by applause which one they wanted to hear. “Crystal Ship” won… and bombed.

After the first few lines, Morrison stopped the song when he and guitarist Krieger couldn’t get together.

He did a great job of “Touch Me,” however, and after a minor scrap between he and an audience member, closed the concert at 1 am with “The End.” It was about time.

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1970-The Doors, musically, were somewhat a jar

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