The pass few nights I’ve been checking out The Doors at the Matrix on YouTube. The club was in San Francisco. It was March 1967. The first album, The Doors, had been released in January and “Break on Through” had been the first single. “Break on Through” had climbed to #106 on Billboard and then stalled out. “Light My Fire” would not be released as a single until April. The Doors were still a local bar band.
But The Doors were in top form at the Matrix. There are two YouTube Matrix performances, just music with graphics or photos. Both performances run around two hours, but one has good sound with standard images and the other one has a poor quality of sound but with great photos of the band that I’ve never seen before and that’s saying something.
The YouTube tape with the good sound re-enforces why the band and its music was so unique. Ray’s keyboard bass was essential to the band’s sound. I was truly impressed with how much blues The Doors played. I was fascinated that The Doors were playing not only the blues, cuts from the first album, but the band played cuts from Strange Days, the second album which would not be released until September.
And it’s really obvious how much The Doors improvised during their live sets. And they were still tight! They listened to each other.
And even with no visual, just music, Jim was still the focus. He screamed. He moaned and groaned. He whispered. He recited poetry or just went off on verbal tangents. And he sang in that unique, powerful baritone voice. All the while Ray, John and Robbie set the stage for him.
Check out The Doors at the Matrix on YouTube.
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