Bright Midnight: Live In America

There’s something for everybody on these new Doors collections: Those looking for more reasons to crow about how insufferable Jim Morrison could be will find plenty of ammunition in the concerts documented on The Bright Midnight Sampler and The Doors Live in Detroit. And those who consider Morrison a poet and provocateur who slipped the Incense and Peppermints generation a strychnine cocktail will be similarly bolstered in their beliefs, particularly by No One Here Gets Out Alive, a fawning Doors documentary originally broadcast in 1979 and now finally released as a four-CD set.

The three Bright Midnight releases, available through the Doors’ Web site (thedoors.com), and Stoned Immaculate, a tribute album with an all-star cast including Creed, Stone Temple Pilots and Aerosmith, continue the long-running expansion of the Doors franchise. For a group that managed only six studio albums while Morrison was alive, the Doors never seem to run out of product. Nor does the public’s fascination with Morrison show any signs of abating nearly thirty years after the singer’s death. These latest releases, flawed though they are, tell us why.

In the summer of 1969 and on into 1970, when the concerts collected on The Bright Midnight Sampler were recorded, Morrison had become an international punch line because he supposedly dropped his pants during a show in Miami. The stunt got the Doors blacklisted in some cities and turned the quartet into a circus act for a new mob of “rock & roll voyeurs,” as Ray Manzarek calls them in the Alive documentary, who came not to commune with Morrison but to watch him implode.

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