It is a rare concert when well-known songs such as “Light My Fire,” “Five to One,” and “Hello, I Love You” take a backseat to “Back Door Man,” “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar),” “Moonlight Drive,” and “Spanish Caravan.” The former have been overplayed and sometimes it feels as if The Doors are on cruise control while the latter contain surprises, plus they have more of a raw and spontaneous feel to them.
The concert ended with back-to-back performances of “The Unknown Soldier” and “The End.” Jim Morrison is at his best as he prowls the stage, bringing the concert to a satisfying climax.
While the focus was always on frontman Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore were integral not only to the sound but to the visual concert experience.
There are a number of bonuses, including a history of the Hollywood Bowl, and explanation of how the film was restored, and the band members talking about the experience. Two rare performances, “Wild Child” from a 1968 Smothers Brothers television episode and “Light My Fire” from the 1967 Jonathan Winters Show, are resurrected.
The Doors as a band and Jim Morrison himself are long gone, but Live At The Bowl ’68 is a fine testament to their legacy as one of rock history’s better live bands. It’s the next best thing to being there.