|Written by Richard Lutz|
|Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:30|
Richard Lutz is lining up to see the new Doors documentary at the MAC. He remembers seeing the band create mayhem in New York back in ‘68.
Here’s a story:
Way back when… I stepped out onto the August New York streets and headed for the Singer Bowl in Queens—today decorously re-branded as The Arthur Ashe Stadium, home of the US Tennis Open.
Back then, it hosted some of the best outdoor music nights around. You always checked out who was at the place. That year, it included Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Rascals.
But that night, it was The Doors and The Who. To put it simply, The Who (who in themselves were bigger bigger bigger in the States than they ever were in the UK) opened for Jim Morrison and company.
And there was only one reason for that line up the way it was. You just could not contain Jim Morrison. He would be smashed out of his head, diving into the frenzied audience, beating them up, roaring drunk or high, forgetting his lyrics but somehow putting on a superlative show.
No one followed The Doors. No one could would or should close one of their shows.
In that pre-Tommy era, The Who opened and bounced around a lot. The New York crowd loved them—kind of slightly cute but evil muppets with songs such as Summertime Blues and Pictures of Lily. Uncle Ernie (funny that…) and Tommy would come later.
Maybe they would smash a guitar or two. Kind of like a teenager having a mini-tantrum in a bedroom. Suddenly, bam, they were off.
Then the artificial smoke enveloped the stage. And way up there in the Singer Bowl terrace, way up in the back, my friends and I saw The Doors creep out into the night through the haze… Little black figures in the night. It was obvious it was going to end with craziness.
Morrison just egged the crazies starting with Back Door Man. And by the time he sang (or forgot the lyrics to…) The End… well, it was the end. This man just wanted to fight and screw things up. And he was very good at that.
He punched a fan, provoked the police, taunted the bubbling crowd, refused to settle down and made a major jerk out of himself. And, boy, was he great in the heat and the roar of the night.
Things deteriorated. Morrison started throwing equipment off the stage and the New York crazies—and were they crazy—were throwing stuff back at him and police waded in with batons. And Morrison egged everyone on.
It was now a riot.
Then everyone started throwing metal chairs. Meanwhile, on the stage, other guys in the band kept on playing, playing, playing through the artificial smoke and Jim Morrison kept on shouting and singing and shouting some more and sometimes even getting some of the lyrics right. In a way, it was The End, back then in 1968
A guy behind me, with a lunatic light in the eyes, was taking those metal chairs over his shoulders and hurling them towards the stage and the crowd below. ‘It’s the revolution, man. It’s revolution time.’ I figured if this was the revolution I better get protective gear, pack my bags and head for home.
Finally, amid the flying furniture, the debris, the crazies, the cops and the smoke now swishing around The Singer Bowl and Morrison spinning round like a top and shouting and the rest of The Doors ramping up the sound, the set just simply disintegrated.
And then we spewed out of the Bowl and headed across the bridges to Coney Island and that was kind of crazy too because the place was falling down with spooky dilapidated rides tumbling into the sea and I remembered how those nice Who boys from England played good songs and then Jim went nuts down at The Singer Bowl.
And I grasped the concept why no one closed out a Doors concert. And then I bought another Nathans hot dog with mustard before we left Coney Island and drove through the New York night to see what else was happening…
Source: The Stirrer