4

The Doors: Feast of Friends

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The Doors
Feast of Friends
Eagle Vision
2014

As with the previously-released archive titles of the Doors, Feast of Friends elevates the standard for such vault projects to another level by including pertinent content from the time period in which the band's self-financed and produced film was made. current group manager Jeffrey Jampol and sound engineer Bruce Botnick, as well as essayist Len Sousa and the filmmaker himself Paul Ferrara, place the piece in the context of the times and illuminate a perspective on the band often lost in its cyclical popularity over the years.

In fact, might well be experienced most vividly as a full-scale theatrical presentation with its bonus features as prelude to the main feature. Transcending the fully-lit studio stage, The Doors' riveting performance of "The End" on a Canadian television series in May of 1967-before "Light My Fire" made them famous—finds the whole band, including vocalist Jim Morrison, completely engaged for the duration as their audience looks alternately perplexed, curious and off-put.

Likewise the Roundhouse London concert footage from the British documentary "The Doors Are Open." Interspersion of non-musical footage occasionally interrupts the drama of the performances, but the quartet are again intensely immersed in this show for its duration. And that's including Morrison who, rather than be reviled by his audience as in later years, interacts with them during the improvisation segment of their initial hit. And the Doors' signature song has its musical dynamics dramatized by the frontman's spoken word intro, highlighting the unique instrumental lineup of the band (keyboards,m guitar and drums but no bassist) as well as their cogent approach to jamming.

The performance art element of the final number, "The Unknown Soldier," adds to the chaotic nature of the Doors concerts of the period footage early on in Feast of Friends proper where security actually impedes the group's performance as police look more bewildered than poised ;particularly during some of Morrison's cavorting on stage. Precisely because he's part of the group's inner circle, Ferrara's presence as he films does nothing to interrupt the spontaneity of the Doors' actions as they're filmed traveling, during free time and in particular during backstage intervals where a more lighthearted demeanor surfaces in a most startling contrast with their dour/stoic public personae.

While the shot dissolves and superimpositions in the Ferrara-shot film aren't quite so smooth as those in the "live at the Hollywood Bowl" performance, the transitions add to the impromptu atmosphere,as does Morrison's complete lack of a conventional frontman's stage moves: clumsy at times as he moves around the stage(s), therein still lies an edgy and ominous unpredictability, arguably no greater now with the advantage of hindsight than at the time of the original cinematography.

The abrupt ending of the project, due to increasing tumult afflicting all the band's activities at the time, ultimately mirrors the trajectory of the Doors' career in the wake of Morrison's death. Thus the content of the band in the recording studio with producer Paul Rothchild, during the latter part of "Feast of Friends: Encore," well as additional scenes portraying the group merely killing time playing cards or capturing Morrison backstage, begs the question of how 'finished' was the version of the film as the vocalist/poet took a master with him when he moved to Paris in 1971 following completion of LA Woman (Elektra, 1971): its almost equal length aside, this bonus feature has as much or more continuity as the film itself.

Emanating over the disc menu, "Strange Days" is the ideal theme song for Feast of Friends as the title song to the second Doors albums resonates deeply enough to conjure a sensations of both dislocation and focus on what's depicted here of the Doors in turn becoming it's own eerie reflection of the long-term influence of this iconic group.

Production Notes: 144 minutes run time approximate. Bonsu Feature: Feast of Friends: Encore; "The Doors Are Open" documentary; "The End" performance clip.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read La La Land DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At Carnegie Hall DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi" DVD/Film Reviews The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
by Marc Davis
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl" DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years" DVD/Film Reviews The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years
by Doug Collette
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "La La Land" DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Rolling Stones - Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America" DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones - Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.