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Philadelphia Concert (August 4, 1968) – The Doors-All about the performance

The history of The Doors performing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August 1968, or why did Jim Morrison perform with the cops?

Live Philadelphia 1968 (August 4, 1968) - The Doors concert story

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sunday evening at the end of a very hot summer. The Doors, led by their controversial lead singer Jim Morris, take the stage. But this time they are surrounded by a dense ring of policemen. Was it intended or did something go wrong?

The Doors at a photo shoot at Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles in 1968 Photo by Guy Webster.
The Doors at a photo shoot at Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles in 1968 Photo by Guy Webster.

Let's go back

To understand the context of these events, you need to "rewind" a few days ago.

The Doors had just returned to the east and on August 1st the band performed in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That evening, the air was electrified in anticipation of a hurricane, and Jim Morrison gave a fantastic performance. With closed eyes, almost without moving, he clearly and clearly read the text of poems and songs to the accompaniment of an approaching thunderstorm. The mood of the concert was simply surreal, and the mesmerized audience maintained complete silence. After the songs "Little Red Rooster" and "The unknown soldier" were performed, the audience silently left the concert venue.

August 2

The next evening, August 2, the group was in their normal mood. They were the leading group at the Super Bowl held in Queens.

Behind the scenes, the atmosphere was tense. Members of the British group The Who did not like the fact that they were not chosen as the lead singers, despite the fact that they were at the peak of popularity that summer. They demanded that The Doors' equipment not be on stage for the duration of their performance, which ended in explosions and smashed guitars. During The Who's performance, the revolving stage went out of order, leaving most of the audience unable to see the performers and becoming very annoyed.

Jim arrived at that concert in a limousine along with Jack Holiman and Ellen Sander, who later wrote about Jim like this:

“He was too crazy, too unreliable, intellectual and conceited. But most importantly, he was too unreliable. He was a loner, like all writers, and often got drunk. But off stage, he was a very nice guy."

On the way, he leafed through the Village Voice magazine and complained that he was bored in New York, and then began to hum "Eleanor Rigby".

To Sander's words that he was rather strange, Jim only replied: "I try." When they were stuck in traffic outside the concert hall, he opened the window of the limousine and talked to the fans, inviting them to come with him backstage. Finally, reaching the stadium, he signed autographs, and then disappeared backstage.

The real nightmare began when the band, after an hour's delay, took the stage. Their passage through the crowd was guarded by a group of plainclothes police officers. The cops managed to repel the first attack of the fans on the stage, and then they had to form a "human wall". To appear before the crowd, Jim had to push through the ranks of the police.

"Calm down!" he shouted. "We're here for a long time!"

He screamed, fell and ran around the edge of the stage, and twenty police officers had to push away the fans who tried to grab him. He interrupted familiar songs with lines from "Celebration" and other impromptu surreal poetry that puzzled a rowdy crowd of Long Island teenagers.

As the police began to roughly push back the crowd, wooden chairs flew in their direction. Jim picked up one of them and threw it back into the crowd. The film crew continued to record the show, but they had to dodge pieces of furniture.

The evening ended with the song "The end". Those in the audience who couldn't see the stage were shouting and getting angry at those who were standing on the chairs. The whole crowd was buzzing and excited.

"Shh," Jim told them. - Hey, seriously, shut up! You will ruin everything! Shhh!

The crowd continued to yell. At the end of the performance, Jim fell onto the stage like he was shot, which made the fans even more excited.

Roby Krieger ended his set with an amazing vibe, but Jim wasn't about to finish his set just yet. At the very end, he was rude to one of the fans, and he threw his chair at him. Hundreds of chairs flew in the hot air of that tense evening. Jim continued to dance and laugh hysterically, and when the police tried to take him away, he lay down on the stage and refused to move. In the end, the bodyguards stepped in and took the whole group backstage. The evening ended with numerous arrests and injuries. The next day, these events were covered in the press.

Pete Townshend, the notorious guitarist of The Who, watched it all from the sidelines. He was struck by the way Jim Morrison watched dispassionately as his bodyguards beat up teenagers who tried to get close to him.

He thought he'd seen it all, but he was still surprised by how Jim managed to deliberately control the mood of the crowd, bringing them from delight to complete chaos. Shortly thereafter, Pete wrote the song "Sally Simpson" as a tribute to Jim.

Backstage, while the crew was cleaning up their equipment, Jim was comforting a teenage girl who had been smashed in the head by a flying chair. Blood was flowing from the wound on her face, the girl tried to stop the tears. Jim hugged her, looked into the camera, and said with a wry grin, “That's democracy for you. It's impossible to tell who hit her with the chair." He gently wiped the blood from her face and said softly, "The blood is already clotting... She was just an innocent bystander."

August 3rd

On that day, the song "Hello, I love you" became sly and screamed from the speakers of literally every car in the country.

That evening the band played at a concert hall in Cleveland. Again with them was a film crew. Jim came to the concert drunk and turned the whole performance into a real mess. Krieger tried to drown out Jim's incoherent speech with flashy guitar solos, but this annoyed Jim. "If I can't hear myself, I'll go and shoot someone in the crowd!" he shouted to his group. Then Morrison skipped all his parts in the song "When the music's over".

At the end of the performance, Jim suddenly dived into the crowd with his microphone. The football game began, with Jim as the ball. All the time, traveling from hand to hand, he shouted “Come on! Let's!". When he returned to the stage, his voice had already disappeared. The group ended the performance with the song "Light my fire" and ran off the stage.

The crowd chanted Jim's name for a long time, and when he still didn't show up, they began throwing chairs and smashing doors to pieces again, and the whole evening turned into a senseless act of destruction.

August 4

Now it's time for the final show. And the appearance of a group with a police escort no longer seems strange, but quite reasonable.

That hot Sunday evening was wonderful. Jim looked sober and, standing on the big stage of the hockey arena, even asked the noisy crowd to be gentle with the young cops who guarded the stage.

"Backdoor man" morphed into "Five to one". Jim stepped into the background, letting Robbie sing a flamboyant solo that soon turned into a flamenco part from "Spanish Caravan".

“What do you want to hear?” Jim shouted into the crowd. When hundreds of people began shouting out their wishes, Jim interjected again, “One at a time, please. I do not hear you".

After a quick "Hello, I love you", the group performed "Wake up!" and "Light my fire", during which Jim danced and jumped around Mike like a man on fire.

The crowd tried to force their way to the stage, but the police kept the perimeter secure until the band finished their performance and fled the stage.

The rest of the month the group decided to take some rest. Clearly, Jim's mind was already seething with drugs and the crazy events of the past month. In any case, their third album, Waiting for the Sun, sold well on its own. Quite unexpectedly, in September this album will hit number one in the United States.

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