The Doors: London Fog 1966
Most bands, when they’re first starting out, are lost in the wilderness; that’s just the way it is. It takes any group of musicians time to find that sweet spot where their individual artistic personalities coalesce into a new collective entity. Apparently, from what we can hear on this rare ’66 gig, the four guys in this group came into it with well-defined ideas and serious skill sets and, equally important, a willingness to be flexible and figure out how to interact with the others until that original voice emerged. The Doors had already been together for a year when they became regulars at the London Fog, a Sunset Strip nightclub where they had the freedom to experiment and work out their material in front of open-minded audiences. This recently discovered relic, although only a little more than a half hour, captures one random night at the venue. Already, the four components have staked out their own spots; a sound and attitude are in place. Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore are not quite where they would be on their soon-to-be-recorded debut album, but they’re close, unmistakably The Doors. The couple of original tunes—“Strange Days” and “You Make Me Real” (which wouldn’t turn up on an album for four more years, on Morrison Hotel)—are fully developed, and the covers—blues, soul and rock-and-roll standards like Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Fight It” and Little Richard’s “Lucille”—have already been molded to their specs. All but the most hardcore fans should take heed though—despite the fascinating and often exciting performance, the sound quality is fairly abysmal.