Acoustic Sounds

The Doors

Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68

Music

Sound

The Doors Live in Stockholm

Label: Elektra/Rhino/Doors Music Co./Bright Midnight Archives

Mixed By: Bruce Botnick

Mastered By: Bruce Botnick

Lacquers Cut By: Bernie Grundman

By: Dylan Peggin

May 12th, 2024

Format:

Vinyl

The Doors Turn Out The Lights in Stockholm

The Swedish broadcast finally released for Record Store Day

In September 1968, The Doors embarked on a European tour, performing two sets per night (twelve shows total) over fourteen days across five countries. Things were off to a solid start with two consecutive nights at London’s legendary Roundhouse, followed by a stop in Frankfurt. Matters got hairy in Amsterdam when Jim Morrison went on a drug binge and was hospitalized, leaving the group to carry the shows out as a trio. Morrison recouped well enough for Copenhagen two days later, followed by a TV appearance the next day. Afterward, The Doors performed in Stockholm, where the band rounded off a brief yet eventful trek in solid form. In retrospect, the run of shows would be poignant, as it would be the only European tour the band would undertake with Jim Morrison. 

The Doors Stockholm
While only a short run of shows, The Doors’ European tour of 1968 has been well documented in various media forms. Granada Television filmed the Roundhouse shows in London for the TV documentary, The Doors Are Open. Footage from the Danish television appearance has appeared heavily in various Doors documentaries and an amateur audience recording from Copenhagen appeared on the 50th anniversary edition of Waiting For The Sun. The crown jewel of the trifecta is the recordings from Stockholm. Sveriges Radio was on hand to record and broadcast both sets from September 20th. For the longest time, these recordings were a missing piece of the puzzle of archival live Doors releases from the past 30 years, despite the pre-FM reels making the bootleg rounds. In recent years, Doors management has been rectifying the band’s catalog by releasing the mythologized track “Paris Blues,” the first generation Matrix tapes, and the Bakersfield ‘70 show. The Doors are also one of the few bands regularly represented yearly on Record Store Day, making the first official release of Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68 that much more exciting.

The somewhat unusual song selection on Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68 makes it one of the more interesting Doors live releases in recent years. “Five to One” kicks both sets off to a dark menacing start. It isn’t a standard Doors live set if it doesn't include “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar),” “Back Door Man,” and “Light My Fire.” This release is a real treat for diehard fans to hear the band play some cuts that didn’t have the long shelf life of other live staples. Some notable highlights are “Love Street,” “You’re Lost Little Girl,” excerpts of “see The Celebration of The Lizard,” and the then-to-be-released “Wild Child.” The Doors explore their musical DNA with phenomenal renditions of “Money (That’s What I Want)” and a vamping rendering of “Mack The Knife.” Morrison’s off-the-cuff poetic ramblings on “When The Music’s Over” and “The End” make these takes just as interesting as the numerous other renditions on other live releases.


Limited to 11,500 numbered copies worldwide, Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68 is presented in a triple gatefold jacket with never before seen live shots of the group, a write-up by Doors archivist David Dutkowski, and scans from a period article published by Svenska Dagbladet.

The Doors’ audio guru Bruce Botnick is still heavily involved in all Doors releases, so it would’ve been nice to avoid the elusive route and read his input on working with the given source material and other recording/technical specifications. Each of the three 140-gram turquoise-colored vinyl LPs, pressed by Memphis Record Pressing played back flawlessly with no surface noise.

Broadcast recordings released in the official realm typically consist of an EQ’d mastering of the source material, whether it's a pre-FM reel, the best existing copy in the station’s/band’s vault, or an off-air recording. Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68 is a true one-off since Bruce Botnick freshly mixed this release from the original Sverigies Radio multi-tracks! He mixed this release in a style that allows the listener to close their eyes and hear the group just as they appeared on stage: John Densmore’s drums and Jim Morrison’s vocals centered, Ray Manzarek’s Vox Continental and piano bass to the left, and Robby Krieger’s guitar to the right. The only sonic drawbacks, not due to Bruce Botnick’s digital mastering or Bernie Grundman’s exceptional lacquer-cutting, is the distortion on Morrison’s vocals and Densmore’s drum sound not having the same amount of drive as on other recordings and thus coming across as “tinny.” 

These minor sonic blemishes shouldn’t take away from any listening enjoyment. Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9/20/68 is still a treat for Doors fans to hear the band firing on all cylinders on a particularly great evening. With over a dozen archival live releases released over the past 30 years, one can hope more sonic wonders exist deep within the archives; ready to be unearthed and released. Mayybe next Record Store Day?


Music Specifications

Catalog No: RCV1 726129

Pressing Plant: Memphis Record Pressing (MRP)

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 140 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: Remixed from the Sveriges Radio multitracks

Presentation: Multi LP

Comments

  • 2024-05-12 01:37:38 PM

    Zaphod wrote:

    Snagged me a copy! I takes me back to when I was there as a teen growing up in, no, no, no, I am only joshing! I grew up in Rural America, heck I was not even born yet. But it is true that I snagged a copy for myself and it does rock. So turn it up to eleven!!!

  • 2024-05-14 07:15:01 AM

    Georges wrote:

    The distortion on the vocals due to poor microphone adjustment is still there but the sound of the drums satisfies me. The concert in New Orleans, at the Warehouse, on 12.12.1970 exists as a stage recording and features 'Palace In The Canyon' in better quality as on Dallas second show the previous day. It's still unreleased and it was their last performance.

  • 2024-05-15 05:59:05 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    Those fascists bought all the vinyl copies in my city! Grrrrr. So it was the CD or nothing while waiting in line. The Cd(s) sounds pretty fantastic, given I treated myself to a new DAC and cabling, so all is not angry. Lol.

    Georges is on point, the drums and mix settle down after a few tracks and the rough mic is still there when Morrison goes to screaming, but an incredibly warm overall recording, thanks to bringing up the bass keyboards and drum sound.

    Does not sound like any other anemic Doors recording! Just for the sheer chance of having another great Doors recording, okay 10, sound 7/8. The sound really isn't that great but it congeals very nicely after your ears acclimate. Worth it. I think they are reaching the end unless someone pulls out some magic from an attic somewhere, but the New Orleans show will be welcome if they get their hands on it.