Love ’em or loathe ’em, the Doors did manage to make the world wobble on its axis in their heyday. Jim Morrison may have been rock’s first performance artist; he’d turn a concert into a theater of confrontation, urging audiences to the extremities as he pushed himself beyond all conventional standards of acceptable behavior. Alive, She Cried brings it all back home: the Doors’ impossibly strange and wonderful music, Morrison’s drunken loutishness and his stabbingly sober poetics, and the brilliant, vivid sparking of a machine too mercurial to last.
Alive, She Cried — recorded around the world in 1968, ’69 and ’70 — might even be a worthier in-concert document than the double LP Absolutely Live. The band is sharper, Morrison is funnier, and both musicians and singer go for the gut on every song. They get down and bluesy on the Howlin’ Wolf standard “Little Red Rooster” (John Sebastian adding harmonica) and downright dirty — albeit tongue-in-cheek — on the garage classic “Gloria” (written by that other, Irish Morrison). Leaning heavily on the riff to Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” guitarist Robbie Krieger makes “You Make Me Real” rock harder than the studio original.
Elsewhere, Morrison plays the stoned poet, woozily reciting “Texas Radio & the Big Beat” as a lead-in to “Love Me Two Times,” interpolating “Horse Latitudes” into “Moonlight Drive” and expanding on the heady, hedonistic liberation of “Light My Fire” with some pungent, erotic recollections set in a cemetery. “Light My Fire” may be the Sixties’ finest song; here, it flares upward into an intensifying bolt of passion that crescendos with Morrison’s archetypal scream — a scream signifying the communal orgasm of a generation and a decade and a band that would flame out and fall silent all too quickly.