When I was fourteen, my main hobby was obsessively raiding the used CD store. Countless afternoons and allowances were spent devouring every album I’d ever seen on anyone’s list of Hip-Hop classics and my attention rarely diverted to other genres. But in the midst of all the rhymes and beats, I did manage to stumble across a group that still stands as my favorite band of all-time: The Doors.
I’d heard “Light My Fire” and “Riders On The Storm” on the oldies station in my parents’ Dodge Caravan. But it was when I picked up The Doors In Concert on a whim that I was exposed to a whole new world. Starring possibly the most interesting vocalist in the history of recorded music, the double disc exhibits the foursome’s versatility and musicianship over two and a half bizarre hours. In Concert ranges from blues and straight ahead rock-n-roll to spoken word poetry and indescribably weird tunes with Jim’s one of a kind lyricism tying it all together.
Towards the end of the first disc, there are seven songs known together as “The Celebration Of The Lizard.” A cross between a rock opera and a religious ceremony, the peculiar medley reaches its peak with “Not to Touch the Earth.” Beginning with a tightly nervous chord from Ray Manzarek’s organ, the track rolls into a bass line full of momentum and builds into Morrison’s frantic chorus imploring the listener repeatedly to “run with me.” The tension doesn’t release until the very end of the track, culminating in a hectic interplay among Jim, Ray and guitarist Robby Krieger as John Densmore’s drums up the pace until they all seemingly collapse from exhaustion.
As a track-and-field runner at the time (no, it’s not just a clever name), the words and music spoke to me, providing motivational music for the cross-country crowd. The album version, off the Waiting For The Sun album, is just as ill: the extra polish making up for the lessened spontaneity. Still, as the first version I heard, this particular performance off their iconic live release is the one I come back to when I need a burst of psychedelic energy.
Previously: Day 10 – A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep