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The Doors: R - Evolution

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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R - Evolution is a collection of 19 clips featuring the Doors performing on various television shows and in brief "music films," designated as such because many of them pre-date the MTV-style "video" era.

Presented in chronological order, the batch from 1967 features American Bandstand lip-synchings of "The Crystal Ship" and "Light My Fire" with a short interview segment with show host Dick Clark in between. The unflappable Clark doesn't seem the least bit rattled when, after asking singer Jim Morrison about why the music scene in San Francisco is so vibrant at the moment, Morrison responds "The west is the best," five words that Clark likely didn't realize were drawn from the lyrics to Doors song "The End."

A second version of "Light My Fire" taken from the Malibu U TV show is a bit of a cutesy clip; filmed at the beach the clip features an array of adoring girls perched on a fire truck. The psych-tinged "Moonlight Drive," complete with psychedelic camera effects and taken from unlikely source The Jonathan Winters Show is another highlight of the material from '67 as is "The Unknown Soldier" where Morrison is tied up to a pier piling and unceremoniously executed by firing squad; the singer vomits a copious amount of blood upon being shot and while the scene would be considered tame today it was pretty graphic for the Vietnam War era, even when carnage was being delivered daily on the evening news.

Cuts from 1968 include an in-studio look at the band trying to work out parts for "Wild Child," a simulated playing of "Touch Me" on The Smothers Brothers Show that includes full-on faking from string and horn sections and "Roadhouse Blues" with snippets showing Morrison being mobbed by crowds and, famously, getting arrested on stage.

R Evolution ends with five selections made after Morrison's death, the two most interesting of which are "Strange Days" where the sideshow folk from the cover of the album of the same name come to life, and the groove-laden "Ghost Song," completed by the (at the time) three remaining Doors.

All of the rarely-seen footage here is quality; add in the "Breaking Through the Lens" documentary appended as a bonus and you have a package that this band's still rabid fan base will love.

The Doors: R - Evolution
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