Music Blu-ray Review: The Doors - Feast of Friends

By , Contributor
Following up their R-Evolution release from earlier this year, Eagle Rock Entertainment offers another must-own Blu-ray for fans of The Doors, Feast of Friends. The 39-minute documentary that serves as the main feature is impressive mainly for the audio/visual restoration it has received. The lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is superb. But the content, a collage assembled from various sources produced by the band members themselves (never officially completed), has largely been seen and will be familiar even to most casual Doors fans. The documentary’s centerpiece, “The End” as performed at the Hollywood Bowl, was already part of Eagle Rock’s essential Live at the Bowl ‘68 Blu-ray from 2012.

So what makes this worth grabbing? For one, there’s the “Feast of Friends: Encore” included as a special feature. This newly-produced 34-minute piece offers unused Feast of Friends material that is, for the most part, more interesting than what’s included in the main feature. While Feast of Friends focuses on MOS concert footage with studio tracks overlaid, most of “Encore” is fly-on-the-wall, in-studio (from the recording of The Soft Parade) documentary footage (as a Seattle dweller, I must admit it was a special kick seeing Jim Morrison and the band visiting the Space Needle and riding the monorail).

Best of all is The Doors Are Open, a 1968 BBC documentary that has been released on DVD before but has been meticulously restored and remixed to startling effect. Really, this 54-minute vintage documentary offers the meatiest slab of classic Doors on this disc. The Vietnam War-related political commentary, in retrospect, is quite intrusive and adds little except a historical curiosity to the piece. But the live footage (actually live, as opposed to Feast’s studio tracks) of the band playing explosive versions of “When the Music’s Over,” “Unknown Soldier,” and more is easily worth the price of the disc (it also has a DTS-HD MA surround mix).

Also awesome is the disc’s remaining bonus feature, an August 1967 performance (from a TV appearance filmed in Toronto before an audience totally unprepared for The Doors’ style) of “The End.” The performance is augmented by relatively recent interview clips with the surviving band members who look back fondly on the Canadian TV appearance (the late Ray Manzarak is included, so the footage isn’t brand new by any means). Again, we get DTS-HD MA 5.1 for this segment.

As is usually the case with their music video releases, Eagle Rock has included a neat little booklet in the Blu-ray, with new essays and vintage photographs. Given that Feast of Friends can be picked up for well under 20 bucks, I’d say it’s well worth adding to any Doors fan’s collection.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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