Raise your hand if you dig The Doors. Now raise your hand if you are a completest when it comes to your favorite bands. Alright, then this album is right up your alley.
If I had to make a list of my all-time favorite bands, genre be damned, The Doors would land firmly in the Top 10, maybe even Top 5 on a good day. I think they're one of the greatest and most important bands in rock history. With that said there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of live recordings floating around for this band, most of which carry some "official" designation to them. It's not the same epic proportions as say, The Grateful Dead, but it's more hefty a weight for fans than most bands carry. I own a good chunk of these. The best of the lot are totally worth owning because a) The Doors were a great live band, especially early in their career before Jim Morrison started to lose his shit and b) they give a great audio snapshot of a time in American musical history that will never, ever be repeated.
Live At The Matrix '67 was recorded over two nights (interestingly enough 45 years ago this very week) at a little dive bar in San Francisco. So two questions come to mind immediately. The first being is the sound quality worth listening to? Despite Rhino Records' claims that they took these recordings from the original master tapes (which it would come to light later that they really didn't, at least not completely), some of the songs on these two discs are a little too muddy for the liking. But again, it was 1967 and it was some dive bar in a dark corner of San Francisco so the fact that there are enough listenable tracks over these two discs is pretty amazing. The second question is how are the performances themselves? This is where your money will be well spent because what you get is a band just starting to really hit their stride. The Doors at the time of these recordings were not the world renowned superstars they would become. The first, self-titled album had just come out and "Light My Fire" hadn't been released as a single yet. So what you have is a perfect snapshot of The Doors at their most down-to-earth time. This is a band still taking the stage trying to impress people instead of vice-versa. Versions of tracks like "The End" for example are done with a serious, cutting edge that they would eventually lose from live performances. They rip through songs from both the first album and it's eventual follow-up, as well as covers by the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Slim Harpo and of course the Van Morrison penned "Gloria". These performances were all about the music and less about the theatrics and for fans of the band that means that this is one of those essential live recordings.