109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2001
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.
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 1999
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!
89 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2002
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.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 1999
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.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Doors fans will love this unique hodge-podge of live, demo and unreleased gems on this box set. Like all box sets by established bands, it's much to digest and takes time to fully appreciate. One big plus is the classy, informative and interesting booklet that's included, which contains extensive write-ups from Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, as well as short pieces by Tom Robbins, Michael Ventura and the well-known producer of The Doors, Paul Rothchild. It seems everyone involved was honored to be a part of this legendary band, with nothing but fond memories to relate.
Through all the smoke of the earth-shattering recounts, books, movies and myths surrounding The Doors' legend, sometimes what gets lost is the actual music, which sonically ranges from subtle to mind-blowing parameters. The detail and energy within various Doors songs are impressive. Disc one, "Without a Safety Net," begins with a loaded and grumbling Jim Morrison on a refreshingly grainy recording of "Five to One." The live rendition is partly shocking (even by today's standards), a little pathetic and also hilarious. Truthfully, Morrison's words are not as out of bounds as one might think. The rest of the disc is in sharp contrast to the leadoff track. "Queen of the Highway" is comparatively pristine-sounding, a jazzy cocktail song with impressively smooth vocals. Other standouts include "Hyacinth House," a short acoustic song with cool drums; the meandering and great "Black Train Song;" the sea-chant jig of "Whiskey, Mystics, and Men;" and "I Will Never be Untrue," a seductive tune where one gets the feeling Morrison is being playfully untruthful. According to the booklet, "Rock is Dead" was recorded in an inebriated state by all band members, but it nonetheless sounds terrific.
Disc two, "Live in New York," proves The Doors were a top-notch live band. Just listen to the "Celebration of the Lizard King," which clocks in at 17:18 and culminates at 10 minutes with the rhythmic Indian dance beat of "Not to Touch the Earth." It's truly hypnotic, mesmerizing and rocking all at once. Other standout live recordings include "Roadhouse Blues," "Ship of Fools" and "Peace Frog." A dirtied-up version of Van Morrison's "Gloria" completely rocks, while two tailor-made Doors songs by John Lee Hooker also make this second disc a keeper. Unfortunately, the live version of "The End" finds the band straying away from the much more somber and better studio version.
Disc three, "The Future Ain't What it Used to Be," is a bit of a letdown, including the much-hyped "Orange County Suite," a new Doors song dedicated to Morrison's late girlfriend Pam. This CD contains good live songs that sound a bit subpar, although undoubtedly everything was done to enhance them in the studio. If ever the Doors had throwaway tunes, you would find them on the third disc.
Things pick up on disc four, "Band Favorites," where the expected songs meet up with non-radio hits like "Wishful Sinful," "Take it as it Comes," "Land Ho," "Shaman's Blues," "Wild Child" and "Yes, the River Knows." Overall, this collection of discs mixes the raw and messy with the clean and pristine. The live stuff is great and the legend thrives on.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2002
Ok, I am a hardcore fan who has a lot of bootleg but I had the box set before having all the bootlegs that I have and when i first listened to it, I figured I should have concentrated on bootlegs rather than on this pitiful box set. Some songs cut and pasted without any order, all the world pacific demos all separated, some great left overs such as You Need Meat. The pretty useless band favorites containing song that you already have. The Rock is Dead session incomplete missing important stuff such as Love Me Tender and Queen of the Magazines. Worst of all, the Live in New York disc containing songs from 4 different concerts, all re-arranged and some, recorded somewhere else such as Gloria. Really, Jim would be pretty ashamed of his former fellows.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2001
I am writing this review three years after purchasing the set. Being a long standing Doors fan, the announcement of this set back in 1997 filled me with great excitement and dread. As I began to read the track listings BOTH feelings were still very much present.
Excitement - This set offers many great tracks that are not easily attainable without spending large amounts of cash and time/effort. Keep in mind that this stuff is more than 30 years old, so sound quality does vary. That being said, no need to go into a song by song account of my opinions, if you are a big fan of the Doors studio efforts, this is a nice addition to your collection. That is the good news.
Like many other Doors fans, I have owned the 6 original discs for years and have been gobbling up the annual "product" that Elektra/(the Surviving Doors) have allowed me to purchase each year, like clockwork. Being able to get my hands on something "new" (or at least new to me) was a real treat. After all, how many compilation discs does anyone need from a band with only 6 discs in their back catalogue? Greatest Hits (2 cd set), greatest hits (1 cd set), best of, Weird Scenes inside the goldmine, 13, Another "essential" set from the 1980's featuring Wild Child, of which the name escapes me. None of these discs offered anything new to the studio catalogue. How could the band itself not be saying ENOUGH ALREADY!
Dread - As you guessed it, the dread comes in on the 4th disc, Band Favorities. Absolutely CRIMINAL. That is what liner notes are for. Just TELL me what your favorite songs are. Anyone that bought this set, 30 years after the demise of the band, almost by definition already owns all 6 studio efforts. Absolutely SHAMELESS. If you only have 3 discs worth of tunes, just put out AND CHARGE FOR, a 3 disc set. They are actually targeting their strongest and most diehard fans with this type of set in the first place. Why cheat those who have supported them all of these years like that?
Especially, since the recent announcement of the Bright Midnight Records label which lets everyone know that there was nearly 30 hours of live concerts to choose from instead of the Band Favorites regurgitation. Oh, I get it! Those live shows are going to keep the band fed and clothed for the next six years as they parcel out the morsels to their fans at their own pace (i.e. maximizing the profits). Not surprisingly, the first Bright Midnight release is a "Best of" sampler of the hoarded live shows, just to whet our whistles. Probably should have called it volume 1, since I'm sure there will inevitably be more complilations to come.
Finally, A Complete Studio Box set with a rarities disc taken directly from this box set has also just been released this past year. Possibly the first box set culling tracks from a former box set. There doesn't seem to be any end to the gravy train. Do they need the cash that bad?
The saddest thing is, I like many other fans, will continue to buy the Bright Midnight discs as they become available and will continue to support the band so long as they offer new, unreleased music. No question that the music stands the test of time and the Doors (1966-1971) made some of the greatest music ever.
If anything, I had to write this review just to get everything off my chest. I feel a lot better now. 4 of 5 stars for the content on the first 3 discs. Although, In terms of priority, I wouldn't even consider buying it unless I already owned the 6 original CD's.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is a typical box set, consisting of some essential recordings, some throw away junk and the unnecessary inclusion of previously released material.
The first and third CD's consist of live material, demos and discarded studio tracks. The sound quality on some of the live material is amazingly bad. Some of the demo's aren't worth listening to more than once. And then there is Orange County Suite, a studio recording that never made it to album. Listen and you will understand why. But there are some real fantastic tracks on these CD's. Some of the demos are extremely interesting, totally different versions of the album tracks. But the real bonus are the amazing live tracks like Black Train Song and Rock is Dead (a drunken sloppy live studio recording). There is also the only live version of Soft Parade, which is quite nice.
The second CD is a New York concert that has fairly good sound quality. It is a very good, energetic performance, featuring songs from Morrison Hotel and extended versions of The End and Celebration of the Lizard. It must have been frustrating for teeny boppers to attend a Doors concert and not hear one hit.
The only real major down point of this set is the rip-off 4th CD. It is just a collection of previously released material. It is supposed to be special because the songs were chosen by the band. Any real Doors fan would already have all of this material. It is just a money grubbing way for the record company to raise the price of the box set. It is the only reason I don't give the boxset 5 stars.
The European version of this Box Set was split up into two volumes. For someone who doesn't want to spend this much money on the whole box set, might want to consider buying volume I of the European version. It contains the first two CD's which have most of the best material.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2002
Because the release of the Doors' music has been tightly controlled, this box set seemed like a godsend when it was first released. However, only the second "Live In New York" disc and a handful of items from Discs 1 and 3 hold up to repeated listenings. Disc 4 is essentially superfluous since its contains most of the songs that have been, and continue to be, repackaged in compilations. The frustrating thing are the songs that were NOT included. First and foremost, the studio recording of "The Celebration of the Lizard", which originally was supposed to take up one side of the 'Waiting For The Sun' album (not unlike "Revelation" from Love's second LP). A portion of the song was released on the album as "Not To Touch The Earth", and the entire live version is performed on the 2 CD 'In Concert' as well as the single disc 'Absolutely Live'. But the studio version has never been issued. Also, the 'Soft Parade'-era song "Who Scared You", which was originally released as a B-side to "Wishful Sinful", appears in edited form. (The full length version is included on the 'Rarities' disc.) A couple other B-sides, such as "You Need Meat (Don't Go No Further)", and the post-Jim song "Treetrunk" recorded during the 'Full Circle' sessions, are also absent. The omission of these from a supposedly comprehensive box set is inexcusable. Stick to the studio releases, 'In Concert', and if you like 'In Concert' check out 'Bright Midnight: Live In America'.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2000
Having been a Doors fan since 1967, I found this Box Set most gratifying. Over two and half hours of previously unreleased material-some good, some not so good, but overall, very enjoyable. My favorite new song was 'Black Train Song'. Whether it was cut or not, the song was a breath of sunshine to my ears. Also notable was the track 'Queen Of the Highway'. I had always felt that something was missing from the song on the album Morrison's Hotel. When I heard this track, it blew me away. The jazz rendition was just astounding. Personally, I favor this rendition over the original. But my favorite portion of this Box Set was the 6 original recordings made in 1965 before Krieger joined the band. All of those songs eventually made it onto vinyl, but the style of the music was definitely early sixties. In my opinion, very tasty stuff. But what I am really waiting for is the release of 'Other Voices' and 'Full Circle' onto CD, as well as the complete recordings of Jim's poetry readings. Where are those recordings?
I will agree that the Box Sets forth CD of band favorites was kind of a fluke. A list of these favorites in the booklet would of sufficed. This disc added nothing to the Box Set. That is my only true objection to the Set. But songs like Someday Soon, I Will Never Be Untrue, Black Train Song, The Soft Parade (live), and Orange County Suite made this Box Set shine. I am not one bit impressed with their latest Box Set, but this one really brought the Doors into the 90's. For Ray, Robbie, John, and Jim - thanks for the music & the timeless inspiration.