In 1970, Doors producer Paul Rothchild assembled a tight “live set” out of a bunch of different concert recordings from the band’s 1969/early-1970 shows and Elektra released it as the Absolutely Live LP. That and 1983’s similarly assembled Alive, She Cried were eventually repackaged as In Concert, a nifty two-CD set that defined the live Morrison experience for the 1990s Doors revival that followed Oliver Stone’s movie.
Many of those tracks — and the eminently quotable Jimbo stage banter — came from a series of four shows recorded January 17 and 18, 1970, at NYC’s Felt Forum (the smaller venue within Madison Square Garden). The Doors organization and Rhino have finally hired original engineer Bruce Botnick to track down the pieces of tape cannibalized for the previous compilations (ah, the cut-and-paste days of analog . . . ) and reassemble the Forum shows in all their glory.
Split over six fantastic-sounding CDs, these live recordings are a revelation, an aural document of the Doors and Morrison at their professional best. It might seem overkill to splurge on four shows of similar material recorded over two days, but their Forum mini-residence was one of those gigs where fans would have kicked themselves for not getting tickets to every show: blues covers change, an unheard “Celebration of the Lizard” is thrown in, and Morrison — the psychedelic Sinatra — keeps changing the phrasing of songs in surprising ways, though always in control both of his mysterious instrument and of the mesmerized crowd.