In the music business there never seems to be an end to posthumous releases (what I like to call "the Tupac Syndrome") but in some cases it offers fans a chance to see and hear something unique. This is one of those opportunities.
This DVD is an extensive look at the making of the last studio album with Jim Morrison as the lead singer of The Doors. The band went into the studio in December of 1970 to record new tracks. Paul Rothchild had produced the band's last 5 albums but wasn't happy with the new songs, so he quit. The band soldiered on with Bruce Botnick as co-producer and incredibly, the album was recorded in only 4 days, yet became what many consider to be the band's finest effort.
Using archival material, combined with new interviews, we get a very compelling story told by the 3 surviving members of The Doors; John Densmore, Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek. I have always believed that Ray was the most instrumental (no pun intended) in creating The Doors distinctive sound and throughout this DVD that assertion is proven every time Ray touches the keyboards. To Robbie and John's credit though, this documentary also highlights how important a part they played in the mystique we've come to recognize as The Doors.
The main documentary is pretty much a song by song accounting of the "L.A. Woman" album, and through additional interviews with Paul Rothchild, band manager Bill Siddons, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman and Bruce Botnick we learn things about the band and the recording process that we didn't know before: one is that the old Country & Western song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" was the impetus for "Riders on the Storm" and that when Jim wrote and sang "L.A. Woman" he was basically saying goodbye to some of the women in his life, the city of Los Angeles, and ultimately America.
Extras include John talking about "L.A. Woman", Ray discussing "Riders on the Storm" (his playing of the intro is a goose-bump moment for sure) a look at the city of Los Angeles that The Doors knew and loved-done to the tune of "L.A. Woman" of course. There's also a featurette on what The Doors were like live, a studio performance of the previously never released song "She Smells So Nice" (with Jim sporting a huge beard) and the track "Crawling King Snake" accompanied by a photo montage of pictures from 1966-1971.
When I look at this DVD case I can't help but think of Jim's recorded poem "The Movie" as he says "the movie will begin in five moments the mindless voice announced,all those unseated will await the next show". Thanks to this DVD, you don't have to wait.