The Doors' Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968

The Doors – Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968 (Limited Edition Vinyl Review)

Coming together in 1965, at the height of social unrest in the USA, The Doors are one of the most important Rock bands to emerge from the era. Blending Rock-n-Roll and Blues, along with some of the most striking, poetic song lyrics ever penned, they truly were an entity all their own amidst a crowded space of talented artists.

Capturing the attention of audiences worldwide, amazingly, The Doors accomplished all of this in a relatively short span of time. In fact, inside a five-year window, between 1967 and 1971, they wrote and recorded six studio albums! Practically unheard of these days, this period produced some extraordinarily compelling music, making The Doors one of the best-selling Rock bands of all-time. Sadly, it all but came to an abrupt ending in 1971 when Lead Singer/Lyricist Jim Morrison died at only 27 years old. Leaving a hole in the hearts of those who connected with Morrison’s words, The Doors legacy was set, and now over half a century later, they remain one of the most influential Rock acts ever.

Etched into popular culture for all of eternity, it is thanks in part to the vast amount of compelling music the band wrote and recorded, however, you cannot overlook that The Doors’ live performances played an intricate part in forming their legacy. With Ray Manzarek on keyboards/organ, Robby Krieger on guitar, along with John Densmore on drums, the band was impeccably tight and seemingly knew unconsciously where the other was going during each performance. Improvising at will, their instrumentation created a thick atmosphere in each place they played, and of course, bringing it all together was Jim Morrison up front. Spontaneous, but also at times quite erratic, Morrison was often impossible to contain as he transcended into a different dimension out on stage. Yes, it is true that there were times that Morrison was in no shape to perform, due to excessive intoxication, although, when he was engaged… it would be hard to find a better Rock-n-Roll live experience around.

Exploring this aspect of The Doors history a little bit further, it is open for debate which are some of the best concerts the band ever put on with Morrison. Some might say it was Live at the Matrix 1967; notable as one of the earliest live recordings of the band known to exist, and released as an album in 2008. Others may argue it was Live at the Hollywood Bowl from 1968; a live recording within The Doors’ home territory of Southern California, and released as an album in 1987. Then there are those who swear by the New York City shows captured in 1970, and released as part of The Doors: Box Set in 1997. However, a new contender entered the conversation with the release of Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968.

Recently put out as a Record Store Day 2024 exclusive, on April 20th through Rhino, Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968 is officially offered as a three-LP set for the first time ever, plus also as a new two-CD set. Adding itself to an already long list of live Doors albums, this one holds some historical significance in several ways. Most importantly, it was a part of the band’s first ever European tour; so it was a chance for curious fans abroad to see The Doors live.  Second, it was a co-headlining bill with Jefferson Airplane, who were also extremely hot at the time, and it could be argued that The Doors wanted to prove themselves as elite. This all considered, the tour took place over seventeen days as the band visited five different countries, and ironically, just prior to their arrival in Sweden, Morrison had been hospitalized after passing out backstage in Amsterdam. Nearly unhuman, within just a few days, Morrison returned to the stage as a part of The Doors in Stockholm, performed two sets on September 20, 1968, and it sounds absolutely spectacular.

Coherent and singing with flawless ease and inflection, Morrison, along with The Doors, captured some of their most memorable songs; including “Five to One, “Love Me Two Times,” “When The Music’s Over,” “The Unknown Soldier,” and of course, “Light My Fire.” With so much more also included in these sets, such as a performance of “Mack The Knife,” these 2024 LP and CD releases offer the concert mixed and mastered from the original four-track tapes. Done with care by the band’s longtime Engineer/Mixer Bruce Botnick, the vinyl set is pressed on light-blue translucent vinyl, and limited to 11,300 copies worldwide. A factor to consider if you still want to grab one, the package itself is a solidly built tri-fold jacket, while the liner notes are enjoyable to read. Beyond this, the sound is even, clean, and exceptionally crisp. Exciting, this is hands down the best opportunity you will ever have to experience this legendary concert, outside of actually having been there.

Overall, this 2024 Record Store Day Exclusive is not just another add-on for an avid Doors’ record collector, but something you will want to listen to over and over again. Truly encapsulating the magic of The Doors at their best, Cryptic Rock gives the limited edition set of Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968, 5 out of 5 stars.

The Doors' Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968
The Doors – Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968 / Rhino (2024)

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