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20th Century Fox presents
The Doors: VH1 Storytellers (2001)

"The Doors! The Doors! The Doors! The real Doors! Look!"
- Perry Farrell

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer   
Published: July 10, 2001

Stars: Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, John Densmore
Other Stars: Perry Farrell, Pat Monahan, Ian Astbury, Travis Meeks, Scott Weiland, Scott Stapp
Director: Dave Diomedi

Manufacturer: Wamo
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (no objectionable content)
Run Time: 01h:02m:01s
Release Date: June 26, 2001
UPC: 014381101928
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+AA- C+

DVD Review

For many, Jim Morrison is The Doors. Since the 1980s, a Morrison cult has taken root. As much as I like it, Oliver Stone's The Doors only increased the hold of the Morrison myth. But, as the true fans know, the magic of The Doors has always resided in the other three members. Yes, Morrison played his part, but he is not the be-all, end-all of The Doors. Where would the band be without Ray Manzarek's chugging organ, or Robby Krieger's lyrical guitar playing? Nowhere. And with The Doors: VH1 Storytellers, we now have proof (as if the original recordings weren't enough).

At their best, The Doors made intense, dark, powerful music. At their worst, they made pretentious music that fell flat on its face. This episode of VH1 Storytellers has a bit of both. In order to perform the songs, the band members picked singers they felt could do justice to the material. Sometimes they're right, and sometimes they aren't. The best of the singers here, Ian Astbury of The Cult, Travis Meeks of Days Of The New, and Scott Weiland, breath new life into the material, evoking Morrison while also putting their own stamp on it. The highlight of the show is, without a doubt, Ian Astbury's performance on Whiskey Bar and Back Door Man. Astbury is enigmatic and charismatic; his stage presence is palpably powerful. After one of the songs, Astbury exclaims, "Now that's rock 'n' roll!" And in his hands, it is. Travis Meeks makes a big impression singing The End, Morrison's signature song. And Scott Weiland is always fun to watch, regardless of what music he's performing. As John Densmore said, he's the only man who could fit Morrison's leather pants.

The show does not always reach these heights. Pat Monahan's rendition of Love Me Two Times is instantly forgettable, and is actually overshadowed by Robby Krieger's story of why he wrote the song. Perry Farrell is an odd choice to cover a Doors song. Out of all the singers chosen, he has the least chance of sounding or acting like Morrison in any capacity (that wasn't the point, but it does become evident that the other singers are consciously imitating Morrison). And, considering Farrell's voice is such an acquired taste, I couldn't see why they chose him. And apparently neither could VH1, considering that his performance of L.A. Woman is used to play over the opening credits, and we hear only about a minute of it. After a while, I realized that what Perry Farrell brings to a performance is boundless energy and attitude, and now I wish he figured more prominently on the show. I especially feel this way after seeing Scott Stapp of Creed. I'll say this straight out: I hate Creed. They're just another generic modern rock band. The only distinctive aspect of Creed is Scott Stapp, whose vocals I can't stand. Can you take me higher? Well, I'll tell you that you can't get much lower. Stapp manages to mutilate Light My Fire and Roadhouse Blues, two of the best Doors songs.

But, true to my theory, the original band members sound great on every song. Robby Krieger in particular dominates the show. Since the band's demise, Krieger has expanded his style and now plays with a fluidity and power only hinted at on the recordings. Manzarek is in typical fine form, as he always was, and Densmore plays with gusto and assurance. Despite the fact that the band hasn't played together since 1973, the connection between them is still evident, and not just in their performances. The idea behind the Storytellers series is that famous musicians get on stage and tell an audience how they wrote the songs they will be performing. Sometimes a particular band member tells the story of a particular song, but sometimes they all tell the story in a conversational mode, adding details and little shadings to the overall picture. It was there that you could see the heart and soul of The Doors: three guys who love to make music.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Image gives us Storytellers in its natural TV full frame format. And thankfully, the guys at Image didn't make this transfer a rush job, because it looks great. In fact, it looks better than it did on TV. The image is crystal clear, without a hint of artifacting to be found. Thanks for providing such a great transfer, Image.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: I love a good DTS track. Don't get me wrong, Dolby Digital sounds very good, but when you get a well-done DTS track, it sounds phenomenal. So I'm very pleased with these Image music discs that include a DTS track. Both the Dolby Digital and DTS tracks give you a good sense of what it feels like to be in the room with the guy on stage. The music envelops you. I noticed that Ray Manzarek and his organ, who is on the left side of the screen, only comes out of the left speaker, while Robby Kreiger only comes from the right. John Densmore is anchored solidly in the middle. I really liked the directional aspect of the mix.

Now for the differences in the two tracks. It's hard to discern much difference between the Dolby Digital and DTS tracks here. The DTS track is a little more spacious than the Dolby Digital track, but so slight is the difference that you won't be missing out on any great sonic experience by hearing it in Dolby Digital. Still, I'm glad Image provided us with the option. Speaking of options, there's also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, for those without surround sound.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: Unknown

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus performances of Wild Child with Ian Astbury and Riders On The Storm with Scott Stapp
  2. Collectible booklet filled with essays and biographies
Extras Review: Two bonus videos. The first is Riders On The Storm with Scott Stapp. True to form, Stapp ruins it. The other is Wild Child with Ian Astbury. Astbury gives a commendable performance, but Wild Child is an awkwardly written song for which I have never had much appreciation. We also get a collectible booklet, which has one essay on The Doors, a history of the band plus discography, and short biographies of the guest singers. The last two pages are an account of getting the episode made, written by Storytellers executive producer, Bill Flanagan. I really liked the booklet; it was informative and more convenient to read than if the information had been put on the DVD itself (although I may be in the minority on the issue!).

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

A great way to deflate the "almighty Morrison" myth, The Doors: VH1 Storytellers is noteworthy for some great performances as well as some informative stories.


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