(Dion’s review was posted on The Official Doors Facebook and Myspace pages in January, 2011)
 
We have Vince Treanor to thank for being able to listen to The Doors’ performance in Vancouver on June 6th, 1970. Treanor was the band’s road  manager from 1967 until the end in 1972, when the band, post Morrison’s  death, finally decided to initially break up. He had the peace of mind to record this, among other shows on a little SONY tape player. For  that, legions of Doors fans will be eternally grateful. Up until this  time, the 1970 “Roadhouse Blues Tour” was being professionally recorded  through the soundboard for the upcoming live album release, “Absolutely  Live” which ended up coming out at the end of June of the same year. By the night of this show, one would think that the upcoming live album’s assembly  would of been completed and now was just being mixed and tweaked, so  there would no longer be the need to record the rest of the bands tour.  But luckily, Mr. Treanor thought differently, and I personally thank him for it.

The show’s sound has a bootleg feel to it because of the method of recording, but that does not at all dampen the  quality, it only adds to its allure and mythos. It is completely  remastered and like the prior live show releases, we have the entire  show from the first sounds of the reel to reel getting up to speed, to  the dispersing of the crowd afterward. Up until now, bootlegs of this  Vancouver show were available, but to find a copy of the complete  recording was next to impossible, up there with finding complete  recordings of “The Matrix Tapes”, “Live in Stockholm” or the complete “Felt Forum”, from January of the same here (see my last review). Here  it finally is, the entire set in all its glory, uncut.
Vancouver’s show is unique for a couple of reasons. The most blatant, of course is  the blues legend Albert King sitting in on a handful of songs. He was  booked for various dates on the 1970 tour, and like most great jazz and  blues artists, it didn’t take that much convincing to get them to come  up and jam when prompted.
But another important point to  remember about this performance is it’s date. The band had been touring  since January, to promote “Morrison Hotel”, their 5th album release and  it seemed to be starting to take a toll on the band, especially  Morrison. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember here is  that after this concert, the band only performed publicly 5 more times  with Morrison before the tour fell apart on Dec 12th in New Orleans.  One could speculate until the cows come home why this happened, but I’m  sure the exhaustion of a by then an 11 month US city tour, mixed with a  very serious court case in which jail was a real concern; and other  personal problems would stress anyone out. Which is another reason to  shake Mr. Treanor’s hand next time you see him, for recording this.
Vancouver is a real treasure to own and be able to take in. Artistically, it  exemplifies where the band was leaning, which was getting back to their  roots, the stripped down, Southside Chicago style blues. They were also  really starting to explore something they always did to a certain  extent, which was jam. By that I mean playing a song for almost twenty  minutes, improvising and exploring everywhere you could go with it, like the great figures in jazz had been doing, and contemporaries like “The  Grateful Dead”& “The Allman Brothers” had begun to do.
The show opens with “Roadhouse Blues”, a laid back, strong version that  starts the ball rolling and sets the tone for the night: It’s going to  be about the blues. One can hear that the band is now quite comfortable  playing this new song live, almost like they had been playing it for  years, and it unfolds just like what it’s about: a journey, trucking  along, going to that old roadhouse. Manzarek really stands out in this  show; pulling out all that dirty blues he has oozing off his fingers,  laying a superb foundation for the band to work off of. Next they start  their tight medley of Kurt Weill’s “Alabama Song”, Willie Dixon’s “Backdoor Man” and their own “Five to One”, a great combination the band had perfected two years prior. The medley really lets the men stretch  out and get warmed up for the rest of the show.
Next is  their epic “When the Music’s Over”, a song the band loved to play live  and seemed to drop in to their set around the same place every show,  almost as the act one finale. Densmore really shines on this cut,  showing off that jazzy “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers” feel that he loved to interject and was known for, dropping in fills and cracks in  the down points that really give the song that power of a thunderstorm  in the distance, with silence immediately interrupted by large hits of  thunder. Morrison, who seems to be a tad hoarse tonight, dropping his  voice an octave at certain moments or staying away from the high notes,  still proves that when needed, he can generate those high notes the song may demand, despite his throat’s current condition. This is a talent  not commonly seen by most singers, to be able to successfully have that  range even though your tone and pitch is registering quite low (see Tom  Waits). He also interjects the “Something wrong, something not quite  right” and “Confusion” poems into the middle of the song; two pieces he liked to utilize in the early days while developing the song, which he  then resurrected and used on this tour.
This  is a point I’ve heard critics complain about in this series of live  recordings that have been released, where there is a chunk of silence in between songs, consisting of tuning up and the band regrouping. These  spaces seem to go on too long for some people’s tastes, which I totally  disagree with. I love how the editors included this and did not cut this filler from between the tracks because one can turn up the volume and  get an almost behind the scenes chat of what key the band wants to play  in say, or what song they would like to do next. Some of this can  actually be quite funny and for me; is a real pleasure to listen to (see live in Detroit’s encore with Morrison talking about what songs they can do in what key with what harps they have on hand). “Love Two Times” is pulled off next without a hitch and then the real fun begins when  Morrison introduces Albert King who comes up to sit in with them.
The band then along with King and his famous flying V guitar, “Lucy”, break into a series of old blues numbers, to let everyone jam  out to. First they perform Big Mamma Thornton’s “Little Red Rooster”, then the classic “Money”, before wrapping up with BB King’s “Rock Me” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” The band really shines here and  seemed humbled by sharing the stage with such a blues icon. Mr. King  really shows off his skills with “Lucy”on “Little Red Rooster” and “Who  Do You Love?” even adding Diddley’s famous little improv riff in the latter  song. He and Krieger really interact well and the others really seem to  dig the relaxed jam session.
After the blues great leaves  the stage, the band ends the show with brilliant versions of two of The  Doors stables. First Morrison recites the “Petition the Lord with  Prayer” poetry, as to say they are going into “The Soft Parade” but  instead surprises the audience with the crowd favorite “Light My Fire”. The band began to have problems with this song as they became famous; audiences increasingly wanting to hear this hit, while the band  wanted to not only play the chart toppers but also the blues covers, or  the other material they were working on.  (Urban legend even has it that  Morrison would ask the crowd what they would want to hear, then after  the crowd shouted “Light My Fire”, the band would wickedly instead play “The Celebration of the Lizard”!). This version of “Light My Fire” is by far my favorite version ever, and for me, aside from the Albert King  sit in, the reason one should have this album in your library. The band  takes a new approach to the song, by extensively jamming out in the  middle of it, nodding their hats to almost every other form of music,  showing how intelligent and cultured the band was.
This  may be some of Krieger’s best soloing here, culminating with him riffing into The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and then into John Coltrane’s “My  Favorite Things”. After Manzarek and Krieger duel it out, it is  Morrison’s turn to solo, and boy, he doesn’t disappoint. Under the “Light My Fire” rhythm Morrison starts off by going into Peggy Lee’s “Fever” before heading into the Gershwin songbook classic, “Summertime” from “Porgy & Bess”. He then ventures into my absolute favorite, the blues/New Orleans funeral stable “St. James Infirmary”, before going  back into “Fever” to finish the medley out. He then throws in his “There you Sit!” poem, something Morrison use to insert in the early days in  the last half of “Break on Through”. The band then brings the song back  to its head and conclusion. The group really shows here how in tune  to each other they were, acting as almost a single mind, and it my opinion, really  gave some insight into where they may have ventured in the future, in a  live setting as they continued to perform.
They wrap the  concert up with a great version of “The End”, where echo effects are  added to Manzerak’s Vox and Morrison’s voice, giving the song a  haunting, almost gothic feel. The singer adds his “Across the Sea” poem  to the song, which is evidence to the claim that the group never  performed it the same way twice. This closes out the show and clearly  leaves the crowd wanting more, to which the announcer says no encore can be performed because they cannot go past midnight. It sounds hilarious, but evidently this was a huge problem for concerts of this era. Go  figure.
But what a genuine treat it is to have this  concert finally be issued officially in it’s entirely, fully remastered. This release really gives new hope to hardcore fans that other obscure  performances (Hawaii of the same year, anything from the 1968 European  tour; or the notoriously rare last known live recording with Morrison  from December 11th 1970 in Dallas, where they debuted three songs from  their upcoming album, “LA Woman”; it also being the only time “The  Changeling”, “Love Her Madly” and “LA Woman” were performed live with  Morrison) will see the light of day, fully remastered to the best of  today’s technology.
But for now, we get to cherish another stellar  release from the band’s vaults and reflect on what a tragic loss it was  to the world with the event that occurred in a small Paris apartment in  the early morning hours of July 3rd, 1971.

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