Classic Rock Review

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The Doors Live At The Matrix


Review This is the first official live release of the Doors in their prime.

All the other cd’s are from 1970 and by that time Jim Morrison was going into half drunken poetic recitals during the songs and they had clearly passed their live prime (though there were some good songs from then). But in 1967 the Doors were in another realm live. Next to the Velvets, this is about the only group that had a darker element to the sound.

And you get to hear the full version of “the End” with the oedipal sequence and some bizzare lyrical improvisations intact. Apart from a few blues covers the Doors weren’t “just starting out”. This is the Doors at their best live. Sadly, because of the sound quality, as the other reviews detailed I can only rate this one star. Its lousy. I’ve heard the “concert issues” of them and they are far better. The surviving members of the Doors could and should have released the original masters.

Not only for the listener but to honour Jim Morrison. You can grasp what the Doors sounded like live during their prime era which influenced punk, proto-punk and goth. But the sound quality is abyssymal. They need to reissue the original master tapes to the public or at least as penance allow the next winner of “American Idol” to be the lead singer for the “Doors of the 21st Century”. Take your pick. Just not this release until they get it right. Jim Morrison would agree.

Review The Doors and Warner Music Group issued a press release to promote this CD, stating: “Restored and carefully mastered from first generation tapes acquired by Elektra Records and The Doors 40 years ago, these historic shows never sounded better.” However, at least 4 tracks here were sourced from 3rd generation or higher bootlegs. The remaining songs were mastered from an edited 2nd generation 1/4″ reel to reel copy of a cassette dub made from the master reels.

Neither the Doors, nor their corporate record label Warner Music Group (aka the Rhino and Elektra imprints) own the original master recordings. The master tapes are owned by Peter Abram, who had the foresight to record the band at The Matrix (with the band’s permission)–more than two years before Elektra and Paul Rothchild got around to recording The Doors in a live setting at The Aquarius theater in 1969.

These legendary 1967 live tapes were well engineered by the young Abram and find the rock band at the peak of their prowess as an improvisatory unit. However, the tapes Warner Music Group has published on this 2 CD rip off are vastly inferior to the master tapes, brief samples of which are circulating on the Internet with Peter’s permission for comparison purposes.

Some fans may choose to believe that Abram is being greedy by asking for cash for his tapes. However, The Doors manager Jeff Jampool has publicly stated the Doors’ policy about acquiring live tapes is that they will only provide a small royalty based on sales. According to Abram, he wasn’t even approached to sell his tapes to the Doors for this release. And what about all those bootlegs on the market? According to Abram, all bootlegs derive from the missing first generation cassette copies in the Doors archive, which vanished in the 1970s.

The fans get a sonically subpar, incomplete product. The legality of this release is suspect since Peter owns the master tapes. Peter Abram receives zero money from this product, even though he owns the master sound recording. Meanwhile, your purchase of this material will make Warner Music Group and The Doors a little bit wealthier. And this is the same rock band that recently sued itself for $5million dollars over issues of “integrity.”

By the way, how much money was cover designer Stanley Mouse paid for his Matrix album cover art, while they guy that actually recorded the show–on his own nickel and made this cash cow possible for The Doors–doesn’t even receive a credit as recording engineer in the liner notes?

May 24, 2013 Posted by | The Doors Live At The Matrix | | Leave a comment