The Doors: Waiting for the Sun
(50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Rhino / Elektra 2 CD + 1 LP (September 2018)
in hell should I buy another version of Waiting for the
Sun when I own so many other versions already?"
- Bruce Botnick, April 2018.
Not a bad question, actually. Because here we are, in the
midst of celebrating the Doors as a band, as recording
and performing artists. It's the 50th Anniversary this
time around, and surely that calls for a revisiting of
classic albums, in other words: reissues; or does it?
What's left in the vaults after the outpouring by Bright
Midnight Archives and the 40th Anniversary CD editions,
each series providing a wealth of studio outtakes and
further bonus material? Surely we have had the best of
the rest by now?...
Well, let's see what John and Robby, the band management
and, most notably, engineer / producer Bruce Botnick
have found under the well settled 50 year old dust this
Of major concern are the so called 'Rough Mixes' of 9 of
the 11 songs featured on the original album. Are they
what Botnick is telling us, near masters, lacking the
very final touches only, yet interesting and revealing
"Who called these dead to dance?", as Jim would
come to ask in 'Newborn Awakening'? Well, studio wizard
Botnick obviously, finder of long lost reels of studio
outtakes. And I'm glad that he did.
Although, these alternate mixes may not be very
interesting for the casual spectator. They are not that
from the final masters. The seasoned listener on the
other hand will find what they bargained for, spending
something 'new'. In general, I think it's safe to say
that the main gain is 'more Jim'. What I mean is that, in
the overall sound and musical tracks of these embryonic
mixes is often mushy, less clear than what we're used to,
listening to the legendary baby that saw the light of day
in July of 1968. In general, on the majority of the
the organ and guitar parts are more prominent, in a
negative way; too loud. The drums, on the contrary, are
soft and quiet, lacking the punch of John Densmore's
unique trademark style. Yet on a positive note: more
louder and more powerful than ever before, are Jim's
vocals. Stripped from its echoing sound, as if the man is
by your side, especially when listening through a decent
set of earphones. Furthermore, the lot is pretty
creating process is on display here, and shining it does.
Here are a few of my findings:
I Love You: an extended outro, and Ray's singing is
Almost Gone: boosts the juxtaposition of the two
different piano tracks during the instrumental break;
Caravan: emphasises the duet between Jim's vocal
and the organ during the latter part, after the
break, with less sonic effects overall;
Street: again, a welcome extended ending to the
goes back to the time of the initial vinyl editions of
Waiting for the Sun. On these, as well as on the
first round of CD versions, there was a vocal take
differing from the version of later pressings. It's in
Morrison sings "trying (so) desperately to be
free"... Just compare the song on both CDs in this
set to get the idea;
to Touch the Earth: is rough indeed, with rather annoying
start & stop moments on both the guitar and drum
to One: yields an ear piercing guitar sound in
the right hand channel, and there's the very different
"get together one more time" chanting, with the
band singing along with Jim.
Raw and exciting are 5 unpublished live cuts, apparently
never bootlegged either, and that's when you know: this
extremely rare and new! ... From a concert in the Danish
city of Copenhagen, exactly 50 years ago this evening
I'm writing this review: September 17th. Cool! Score!
But, would it not have been grander to just give us the
concert instead of the few songs relevant to the album?
It's annoying incompletion once again, echoing the tiny
of Matrix Club recordings that came with last year's The Doors 50th
Anniversary box set. A entire difficult episode
in its own right, the much troubled life and times of the
Doors' Matrix tapes. But surely the Copenhagen concert as
featured here could have been presented in its recorded
entirety?! Not? No, Bruce? Maybe later. Ah!...
Anyway, we should enjoy what's here rather than moan
about what isn't. Copenhagen 1968 is a great show, with
Morrison delivering a fiery performance, making up for
the disaster he caused a few days earlier in Amsterdam;
missing the gig, being taken away to hospital.
Then of course, lest we not forget the main thing. The
reason for this new set being around in the first place.
for the Sun, the album. Present here on both vinyl
and CD, once again newly remastered from the original
stereo master tapes. No mono this time, unlike what came
Doors and Strange Days Anniversary sets last
year. Bummer! No less, no more: a bummer! But how great
does the album sound! Spectacular I'm sure, for those
owning the latest audio reproducing equipment, as
explained in detail by Bruce in the booklet; it must be
trip, an expensive one. But to us 'normal Earthlings' the
thing sounds great, yes indeed: better than ever before.
does make one wonder: will technology be able to make
these 'old' recordings sound better still, come 10, 20
years into the future? Probably, yes. But not to my aging
ears. What we have here is fabulous enough
already, so thank you Bruce Botnick!
In packaging this revamped Waiting for the Sun, the band &
co opted to revisit the concept of the 50th Anniversary
set of The Doors, published in January of last
year. How nice and neat do these two fit together, side
by side on the
shelf; twins, for now. It reminds of for instance the
super deluxe Led Zeppelin box sets, or even Metallica's,
are also producing Anniversary editions of their classic
back catalogue. And this exactly is where the Doors got
wrong, with a missed opportunity to create some sort of
unity: Waiting for the Sun is not the
follow up to The Doors;
holds the rights to that particular title. And surely,
yes there was an Anniversary edition of the band's
sophomore album, but that didn't come packaged the way
the others do. What a shame. What a pity. Too bad.
It's hopes up for future 50th Anniversary sets but there
will forever be the gap where Strange Days was due to sit.
Mixed feelings. The Doors: Waiting for the Sun is the stuff
legends are made of. In honouring its status
a bust was erected, but not the grand statue it so
© Kevin Chiotis for the Doors Quarterly Magazine Online
- September 2018