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The Doors: Live at the Bowl 68

I went to see “The Doors: Live at the Bowl 68,” a one-night-only affair screened at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The Chinese theatre is about a mile south of the Hollywood Bowl and a mile northwest from the “Doors workshop” in West Hollywood, so concert moviegoers felt wholly immersed in the ambiance. It was amazing to see old and young Doors fans showing up to experience the near-perfect 35mm quality print. The footage was crisp and clean, and the sound was excellent in Dolby Atmos 5.1 surround sound engineered by the Doors original engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick. The evening started with a short documentary consisting of a casual conversation with the band’s two remaining members, John Densmore and Robby Krieger, at their original practice studio. After talking about the old days on the sunset strip, a few memories about the initial formation of the group and the dynamics of the band that led to the recording of L.A. Woman,  John and Robbie performed L.A. Woman to commemorate the fiftieth year of the release of L.A. Woman album. They still had the chops and played very well, adding some virtuosic flourishes, extending the song to a creatively satisfying ending. After a few short announcements, the film, The Doors: Live at the Bowl 68 begins, and the clarity of the film and the resonance of the sound made one feel as if you were there in the first few rows of the Hollywood Bowl. Jim Morrison’s voice was excellent, and his antics mainly were subdued. The song “Unknown Soldier” was the most dramatic, with Robbie Krieger using his guitar like a rifle shooting Morrison to the ground. My biggest impression was the rich color of the film; it gave you a sense of the fashion of the day; also, the subtle mannerisms of the group in between songs gave you a sense of excitement and anticipation. Ray Manzarek was the steady bell weather as he followed Jim’s poetic pauses and impulsive meanderings on the keyboards while keeping the music on pace with a flowing urgency and importance. 4.5 Stars

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