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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Compilation > Concert > Documentary > The Doors: Soundstage Performances/No One Here Gets Out Alive

The Doors Soundstage Performances/

No One Here Gets Out Alive

 

Picture: C+ Sound: B- Extras: D Main Programs: C+

 

 

Eagle Vision has decided to combine two of the more popular DVDs on The Doors. You get three overlaid stage performances and a popular documentary on Jim Morrison that details many aspects of the late musician's life and career. I'll cover each disc individually in the body of the review, but will be giving a combined grade for both programs. The quality is comparable between both, with the exception of a couple of shaky moments on the Soundstage Performances disc.

 

The Soundstage Performances includes 3 separate performances, spanning three years of the bands career - with interviews and commentary filling in the gaps between each set. These segments lend a bit of authority to a disc that otherwise might have felt more like a bootleg video than an official release. It still isn't perfect - things don't feel entirely professional much of the time - mostly just because of packaging and general presentation. But the live footage of the band is what anyone buying this set is here for, and it is unquestionably good in terms of musicianship; and though raw, it still comes across sounding much like a studio recording. Each of the sessions seems to come from a different source type the last being the worst, as if it were lifted from an old VHS tape. I wish I could say it was minor - but the quality of that segment may get in the way of some people's enjoyment, as it interferes with both the picture and the sound. I did grow accustomed to it and it didn't really mar my impression of the disc much at all, even though the various tape flubs in said segment were annoying and might have been reparable on some level.

 

When dealing with older materials such as this, you've got to consider it fortunate that the material survives in any condition at all. Perhaps better prints exist for these performances that haven't turned up yet, or this studio wasn't able to afford the rights for a better version. Whatever the case, these are still great, and it's wonderful that they've been assembled in one place for easy purchase, rather than having to track down a bootleg of unknown quality.

 

The sound and picture on this disc varies considerably between the older footage and the more recent interviews and such, but most of it is passable material that is easily watchable. It's pretty basic in its presentation, as the footage - both old and new - was most likely all shot on video. Thus, the image throughout is 4:3 full screen. The sound is a weak Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. No details are given as to the construction of the surround sound audio tracks, but I assume that those responsible have maintained the integrity of the original mono or stereo tracks that this was derived from, though it is possible that overdubbing has occurred at some point of the audio reconstruction.

 

The other disc, the documentary side of this double feature, is based on the book co-written by the band manager Danny Sugarman, who passed away recently at age 50 on 1-5-2005. Like the book, No One Here Gets Out Alive takes a close look at Jim Morrison through his band and those around him in the critical years of his life. Though a little bit old (it's from 1981), the information is obviously still good, as little change to the facts could have occurred posthumously. There are only 3 complete songs shown from various live performances, but many more are scattered throughout in truncated form.

 

I liked this presentation, though some may find the pre-Behind The Music/VH-1 style a little slow and unexciting. I welcome it as a change from modern documentaries that focus so much on the down times in a band's career and are basically just setups for commercial-break cliffhangers before unveiling further tragedies.

 

The picture and sound are average here and the quality is still a bit of a grab-bag affair, though to a lesser extent than on the Soundstage disc. Again - full screen presentation, but only Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio this time, though it also shows its age as this program has been in circulation on and off since the peak of VHS. Everything is in check here, with no problems in either department - though nothing that will blow you away either.

 

Picking up this set is a good value for any Doors' collector whether casual or more dedicated. If you've already purchased both discs individually, I don't believe that anything new has been added to entice you to pick this one up as a replacement. Rather, this is just a value for any latecomers looking to add these DVDs to their collection easily and save some shelf space and pocket change in the process. If I had to recommend just one of the two programs over the other, I'd easily pick Soundstage Performances over the other. It does have its flaws, but there's enough there to warrant a purchase until a better edition possibly leaks out in the future.

 

 

- David Milchick


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