“Live At The Matrix 1967” by The Doors

Artist: The Doors
Title: “Live At The Matrix ‘67”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 11/18/2008
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

As someone who grew up listening to Rock & Roll and ended up remaining a fan of the genre for most of his adult life since that time, I have to say that it’s hard for me to imagine The Doors as a band who were not always famous but yet this is exactly what the listener will find when they begin spinning ‘Live At The Matrix 1967”. The release is a long revered bootleg that has existed since being recorded but it is only now that these tapes have been made available in an officially sanctioned pristine remastered edition and once you hear it you will agree that this has been too long in coming. “LATM1967” takes the listener inside a small 100 or so capacity club where The Doors would perform for two nights and according to the releases information the guys in the band were pretty much playing to an empty room. It sounds shocking to believe that but it is true and this was taking place only a few short weeks before the bands second single “Light My Fire’ would make them superstars. The fact that they were performing to themselves for the most part doesn’t show on the recording and instead finds the band focused and energetic where needed and loose and grooving at the other points. It clearly is one of those moments where you wish you could have been a fly on the wall to absorb this bands greatness at its earliest stages. Singer Jim Morrison is much more flexible with his poetry during songs like “The End” and its fantastic to hear them jamming out on Blues standards like “Who Do You Love” and “I’m A King Bee” (two staples from the book of Bo Diddely and Muddy Waters respectively).

I cant quantify my favorites from an album like this because these are the songs that I heard over and over again on Classic Rock radio of the day and they became second nature to me as my family would listen to them. To me they are more of a part of life than just being mere songs. You will not find any of the bands truest listeners arguing with me about this as each song means something different to someone different. Fans of the bands enigmatic leader Morrison will find him at his iconic best with these recordings as every word he sings is clear and every point he makes stressed without any wondering what he means. The band sounds fantastic as well as Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore are all captured at their influential best. An observation that hit me very quickly as I spun this recording was at how strong the music from The Doors catalog has remained even some forty one years after these songs were first delivered. There are some obvious gaps in the quality level of audio sonics when it comes to the players every so often but it is not much to cause worry and its to be expected when you consider how this was taken from very old source material. The bottom line is that it is great to find it existing in the first place.

I viewed this release as a must have not only for those fans of The Doors but also for any Rock fan who could use a reminder about just how good and how important their music was for Rock & Roll. This was and still is powerful and relevant music that hasn’t lost an ounce of its impact in my humble opinion. The release comes with a small booklet that offers up commentary from the surviving members of the band and Brue Botnick, the albums Producer. He lines out how while its not as hi-fi as they would have liked, the album still serves the listener well as an historical audio document. We periodically find releases like this surfacing and with the amount of technology that is at the hands of the producers and engineers in the studio today there are wonders that can be made of the crudest of recorded tapes. Given this state of affairs I would love to see many more releases of this kind from various other bands be made available for public consumption.

Track Listing:
1. Break On Through (To The Other Side)
2. Soul Kitchen
3. Money
4. The Crystal Ship
5. Twentieth Century Fox
6. I’m a King Bee
7. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)
8. Summer’s Almost Gone
9. Light My Fire
10. Get Out Of My Life Woman
11. Back Door Man
12. Who Do You Love
13. The End
14. Unhappy Girl
15. Moonlight Drive
16. Woman Is A Devil/Rock Me
17. People Are Strange
18. Close To You
19. My Eyes Have Seen You
20. Crawling King Snake
21. I Cant See Your Face In My Mind
22. Summertime
23. When The Music’s Over
24. Gloria

Official Website: http://www.thedoors.com

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