I first saw The Doors at the Whiskey sometime in late 1966. They opened up for Van Morrison's era Them. I went there with my dad to see Them because I couldn't get enough of "Gloria," or "Mystic Eyes." I must have been eleven years old at the time. The Doors made a huge impression on me, due to the songs, but also the unusual instrumentation of the band. No bass player! I found it psychologically disturbing at the time. Guitar, Electric Organ/Piano, drums, and voice. Morrison was the voice. A great voice by the way. What I remember from that set was Morrison wearing the iconic leather pants, but not moving a muscle while singing. He held the mike close to his mouth and was hypnotizing me and the audience. I bought their album when it came out, or perhaps my dad did. I played that album to death and beyond. I actually loved every Doors albums except "L.A. Woman." At that point, I got tired of the band, and I felt the band itself was exhausted as well.
Pretty much throughout my late teens and adulthood, I pretty much ignored listening to The Doors, even on the AM Radio. I was turned off on the whole "Lizard King" motif, as well as his official poetry, which was not as good as his lyric writing. I found other bands to feed my urgency for sound and words, for instance, David Bowie, The Kinks, and the whole Punk explosion of the 1970s.
Recently I found a Mono version of the first Doors album at Mono Records (no pun intended) and bought it. I was curious what my adult ears will hear compared to my childhood's listening experience. In ways, the album holds up. The songs are still terrific and the performances are faultless. What is missing is the essence of the band, the mystery. When I first saw them and purchased their albums when they were originally released, it was still a mysterious process. Once they hit the huge mainstream and became iconic, I feel the mystery was diluted into the pop world and culture. In no fashion or way can they match up with The Velvet Underground, who to this day captures the essence of poetry/horror/beauty. They never date, but The Doors do have an expiration date - at least for my ears and sensibility.
Still, this is a ROCK classic. A great album. But it's an album that has no real importance for me anymore.