Live In Pittsburgh 1970 (Bright Midnight Archives R2 271548)
Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA – May 2nd, 1970
Back Door Man, Love Hides, Five To One, Roadhouse Blues, Mystery Train, Away In India, Crossroads Blues, Universal Mind, Someday Soon, When The Music’s Over, Break On Through, Push Push, The Soft Parade Vamp, Tonight You’re In For A Special Treat, Close To You, Light My Fire
Although there are over two thousand edits on Absolutely Live, by the estimate of Paul Rothchild, as far as anyone can really tell nothing was used from the May 2nd, 1970 Pittsburgh show except for the “Close To You” introduction. Bright Midnight’s release of this tape was greeted by yawns by many collectors and it is readily apparent why. The seventy-five minute concert, the shortest so far released in this project, is a good show that gets off to a slow start but contains some highlights as it progresses. The sound quality is excellent since they utilized eight tracks. As the liner notes explain the introduction to “Close To You” is only two track stereo (“Tonight you’re in for a special treat”), and the first sixteen bars of Ray’s solo in “Light My Fire” are missing so BMA compensate by editing that in from the Philadelphia show the preceding evening.
The first three songs, “Back Door Man,” (the first half of the song), “Love Hides,” and a quick five minute version of “Five To One” are played segued together and sounds more like a rehearsal than an inspired performance. “Roadhouse Blues” is somewhat better. Morrison wants to preserve his voice and skips the high notes changing the melody of the song. Things do pick up for “Mystery Train.” It takes three minutes for Manzarek to get the train rolling down the tracks and, with “Away India” and “Crossroads,” constructs a thirteen minute medley. The rare “Someday Soon” makes an appearance in the set list. The only other recording of this song is from Seattle and was included on the Essential Rarities CD. Some say is a better performance, but this is the best recording.
“When The Music’s Over” reaches twenty-three minutes in this performance. At fifteen minutes Morrison sings, “there you sit all by yourself. Everybody’s dancing. C’mon, get that groove. I like to see you move, child.” He then sings the first verse of “Break On Through” before repeating “push, push” several times. “All my world’s a bright delusion” he the sings as the band builds to a great crescendo during the “Soft Parade Vamp.” Morrison introduces Manzarek by saying afterwards, “tonight you’re in for a special treat.” Ray growls and Jim replies, “no, no, not that. You only get that treat on full moons. Besides that I know there are a lot of young people out there and I wouldn’t want you to faint. The last time that happened grown men were weeping. Policemen were turning their badges.”
Manzarek sings the lead on the Muddy Waters cover “Close To You” and even includes the city in the lyrics: “close to you Pittsburgh as pig as to poke.” The show closes with a ten minute version of “Light My Fire” which features Manzarek banging the keyboards and Krieger’s searing guitar lines flying above. The final minute of the tape is occupied with Morrison’s good byes and the mc announcing “The Doors! Bill Siddons, the Doors’ manager.” “Show’s over, folks” Bill says. “Attention, the Rock Festival downstairs is open downstairs. It’s free…” This title is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with the disc in one pocket and a small booklet with liner notes and several candid photos of the event in the other. Although Pittsburgh doesn’t have the mystique of Detroit or Boston, having an excellent version of “Someday Soon,” and the fact that this is another Doors concert, makes this worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)