The Doors at The Fillmore East
Bill Graham has recently opened The Fillmore East in New York, following the success of The Fillmore Auditorium and Winterland in San Francisco. The first show on March 8th featured Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company. The new Fillmore East's next major attraction is The Doors, performing 4 shows on two nights, March 22 and 23. These performances are thought by many to be among the finest the band will ever give.
The performances are astonishing, and are talked about for years to come. The entire band seems compelled to light the Fillmore on fire. It is obvious to everyone that they put their hearts and souls into these performances. Jim takes an unexpected dive into the lighting pit in his enthusiasm. Here's what Ray says about that incident:
"When there were a lot of people up against a stage, he could just fall and they'd sort of catch him. He'd just sort of let himself go, and fall off into the audience, and invariably they'd all just sort of grab him, and break his fall so nothing really happened, except one time at the Fillmore. The Fillmore East had this light pit, and I knew something was gonna happen. I thought 'God, no, he's gonna fall into the light pit.' And he was just really stoned, and sure enough...I used to play with my head down, so I didn't really see a lot of the things he did. At one point I'm playing, and he's supposed to start singing, and he didn't sing, and I looked up...and he was gone. And then sure enough, a hand, and then another hand, and out he comes, crawling out of the light pit. But he was fine, couldn't hurt that guy. Nothing really hurt him, until the end." (Ray Manzarek: The Audio Interview Audio magazine Dec. 1983)
Jim introduces the New York premiere of The Unknown Soldier, portraying himself as a pretentious University Professor, and the audience as his students. He informs "the class" that they might grant the motion picture their utmost attention, as there will be an examination afterward.
The second show opens with When The Music's Over with Jim conspicuously absent from the stage. As the music leads up to the vocal introduction, Jim comes flying from the back of the stage, leaps over the drum kit, and bounds up to the microphone in time for his introductory scream.
It seems concert goers must have cleaned Thompkins Square Park out of daffodils on the way to the Fillmore East, because throughout the show, they are throwing them onto the stage. During an instrumental passage, Jim gathers them up and methodically places them on the instruments. During Light My Fire, his mischievous side comes out to play, as he pokes a large handful of the flowers at John, and flutters them under his nose. One account has Jim walloping him over the head with the flowers!
The Doors premiere their film The Unknown Soldier again this evening, following it with a performance of the song.
As the band breaks into the opening number for the second show, Jim gives another acrobatic entrance. He runs out and grabs the rising curtain, holding on tightly while it glides toward the ceiling. After climbing to a considerable height, he finally lets go, and dramatically plunges to the stage beside his microphone stand. Leaping up, he grabs the microphone just in time to burst into the introductory scream which characteristically launches the show.
When the show is over, and the patrons begin leaving the building, Bill Graham comes on stage and makes the announcement that the Doors would like to perform an extra encore. The audience quickly returns to their seats, as the band breaks into an extended encore which becomes an additional hour of music.
Unfortunately, no known recordings of these shows exist, although it is quite possible there are recordings of one or more shows out there somewhere.
Copyright 2002 by laciefae and Greg Shaw/Waiting-forthe-Sun.net