The Doors Live at the Matrix is part of the regular re- release and issue of Doors material which started last year to mark their 40th anniversary. A version of this recording has been released previously but was a single album with just 8 tracks. This release is however 2 CDs providing 125 minutes of Doors listening, some of the material is previously unreleased but inevitably much bootlegged.
The Matrix was a small club in San Francisco and this release is based on two performances there in 1967 just weeks before Light My Fire propelled the Doors towards super-stardom. Incidentally the version of the track on this CD is a joy, lightly played by a band who are enjoying themselves.
Luckily for us listeners, the audience at the Matrix was small , with no screaming girls and only an odd appreciate ripple of applause, with Jim Morrison heard to quietly murmur "Thank you, you're very kind" at the end of When The Music's Over. This may be a quiet audience and an intimate club venue but the Doors provide full fat delivery throughout particularly on the almost 14 minute version of The End .
The first CD starts with the oh so Doors' Break On Through, then soaks the listener in the languid pleasure of Soul Kitchen but then quickly swerves into a bluesy rendition of the old standard Money, then back into languid mode with The Crystal Ship .
The two CDs continue in this vein taking you from pure West Coat hippie heaven with the band's own compositions to down and dirty covers of blues tracks like The Woman is a Devil and Crawling King Snake, which reflects the dual musical personality of the band throughout its short life.
On the blues tracks the 24 year old Morrison channels the voices of much older bluesmen ( backed by some amazing guitar playing) and then switches easily to a sweet voiced, but nevertheless sinister delivery for the Doors' own songs like Midnight Drive There is also a fabulous instrumental version of that old, hoary American songbook classic Summertime but with Manzarek'skeyboard it takes on that unsettling fairground tone.
The CD is an excellent addition for Doors fans but it is also a good introduction for those less familiar with this band, demonstrating the range of styles which continued throughout their careers and have been an influence to many. If I have to point out one fault, and only if I absolutely must, the sound is set quite low, but thats why we have volume controls.
Review by Karen Deus
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