The Doors "Live In Bakersfield" (2023 Record Store Day Black Friday LP)

For Record Store Day Black Friday in 2023, Rhino Records is issuing a previously unreleased live album from The Doors, in both CD and LP formats. Live In Bakersfield will be limited to 7,500 vinyl double-LP's, and 12,500 double-CD's. The album was recorded on August 21, 1970 at the 3,000-seat Bakersfield Civic Auditorium in California.

The documented concert was one of the last ones performed on the band's 1970 Roadhouse Blues Tour, on which they promoted their album Morrison Hotel. Notably, it took place during the same month in which Jim Morrison went on trial in Miami, FL for allegedly exposing himself on stage. This Bakersfield, CA concert was recorded by road manager Vince Treanor, using a stereo tape recorder with a pair of microphones placed on different sides of the stage. Bootlegs of the concert have circulated, with sound that is usually fairly clear but sometimes flat. It will be interesting to hear how the sound quality has been enhanced for this official release. The bootlegs were sourced from an incomplete tape that does not include the evening's performances of "Love Me Two Times" and "The End", which have been restored for the official release. "Love Me Two Times" is presumably the same version included on the 2001 CD Bright Midnight: Live In America, which was a nine-minute medley incorporating the traditional "Baby Please Don't Go" and "St. James Infirmary". Folklore has it that a performance of "Light My Fire" was also missing from the bootleg, but the song is not listed as being on the official release, so it actually may not have been performed at this show at all.

"Roadhouse Blues" and "Ship Of Fools" are the two selections from the Morrison Hotel album which were performed at this concert. These two songs are played relatively safe and civilized here, notwithstanding the extended length of the latter, and Morrison's ad-libbing during the former. By contrast, the 13-minute performance of "When The Music's Over" is a bit wild at times, with occasional bursts of furious feedback and buzzsaw guitar sounds, and a startling primal scream by Morrison.

Two of the songs, "Universal Mind" and "Away In India", are non-album tracks which have only previously appeared on other Doors live albums. "Universal Mind" is mixed with Mongo Santamaria's Latin jazz tune "Afro Blue", while "Away In India" is mixed into a loose medley with Junior Parker's "Mystery Train" and Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" (and a little bit of "People Get Ready" as well). These two medleys are high points of the concert. The "Universal Mind" medley shows admirably controlled musicianship, while the "Away In India" medley displays a rugged extended jam by the band. Another thing that makes this concert unique: in between "Back Door Man" and "Five To One", Morrison incorporates a poem called "Old Stone Road". seems that the Doors and company are working hard to have the band's remaining unreleased recordings released officially, especially when a Record Store Day comes around. How many more Doors concerts remain in the vaults? Time may soon tell.

The Doors "Live In Bakersfield" (Rhino/Elektra) 2023

Track Listing:

1. Roadhouse Blues (5:50)
2. Medley: Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) / Back Door Man / Five To One (12:42)
3. Medley: Universal Mind / Afro Blue (8:31)
4. When The Music's Over (13:17)
5. Love Me Two Times (8:54)
6. Medley: Mystery Train / Away In India / Crossroads (15:13)
7. Ship Of Fools (8:32)
8. The End (15:35)