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Review: The Doors’ Live at the Matrix 1967: Unearthing the Original Masters (Rhino)

The Doors: Live at the Matrix 1967: The Original Masters (Rhino) – Review

The Doors, one of the most influential and iconic rock bands of the 1960s, have left a lasting legacy through their ground-breaking music and charismatic performances. Their live shows were legendary, and fans craved for more recordings of their enigmatic frontman, Jim Morrison, and his bandmates in their prime. Rhino has now answered their prayers with “The Doors: Live at the Matrix 1967: The Original Masters,” a compilation of live performances that showcases the raw talent and energy of this unique band.

The Matrix, a small club in San Francisco, was the birthplace of many iconic performances by bands that would go on to change the face of rock music forever. It was in this intimate setting that The Doors honed their skills and developed their distinct sound. This collection captures the essence of their early days, when they were still relatively unknown but undoubtedly destined for greatness.

The album kicks off with a fiery rendition of “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” setting the tone for what’s to come. The explosive guitar work of Robby Krieger is on full display, as he effortlessly slides from one blistering solo to the next. Ray Manzarek’s melodic organ lines weave an enchanting spell, while John Densmore’s thunderous drumming drives the rhythm forward.

But it is Jim Morrison’s captivating vocals that truly steal the show. His deep, haunting voice resonates throughout the club, drawing the audience into his poetic and often mysterious lyrics. Songs like “Soul Kitchen” and “Light My Fire” showcase Morrison’s ability to command attention and create an otherworldly atmosphere on stage.

The authenticity of these recordings is what sets this album apart from previous live releases by The Doors. Using the original masters, Rhino has painstakingly remastered the tracks to ensure the best possible sound quality. The result is a set of recordings that sound fresh and vibrant, capturing the energy and intensity of the band’s live performances.

One of the standout tracks is the epic rendition of “The End.” Clocking in at over 17 minutes, this version is a tour de force, with each band member given ample room to showcase their exceptional talent. Morrison’s extended spoken word section, filled with vivid and often controversial imagery, is a mesmerizing journey into the depths of his psyche.

Despite the excellent quality of the performances, some tracks do suffer from occasional technical issues, such as microphone feedback or uneven mixing. However, these minor flaws do not diminish the overall impact of the album, as they are a testament to the raw and unpolished nature of live recordings.

“The Doors: Live at the Matrix 1967: The Original Masters” is an essential addition to any fan’s collection. It offers a glimpse into the early days of a band that would go on to become legends, capturing the essence of their live performances in all their glory. Rhino has done a commendable job restoring and presenting this rare gem, allowing fans to experience the magic of The Doors as it was meant to be heard.

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