Saturday, January 13, 2007


Dinner Key Auditorium, Miami (1st March 1969)

The Miami concert dramatically altered The Doors' world, shaking its foundations thoroughly, and changing everything irreversibly thereafter. Records began to sell badly, right-wing groups demonstrated against The Doors, and promoters cancelled an entire tour. A fiasco, a financial catastrophe, an artistic disaster, but curiously enough, largely preconceived and planned by the ever-mischievous Jim Morrison.

On 28th February 1969, the night before the concert, Jim had seen a performance of 'Paradise Now' by the Living Theatre, at the University of Southern California. In fact, he had been to the two previous nights' performances as well. He loved it. In their play this controversial theatre group reflected ideas that Jim had been having himself, and that he had previously lived out on stage. Moreover, many of his pet obsessions concerning dialogue with the audience, provocation, as well as society's criticism, right down to the completely free form of stage presence, were daringly performed in an expanded version by the Living Theatre, and he had lapped it up.

On 1st March 1969 Jim missed his direct flight from Los Angeles to Miami, where The Doors were booked to play at the Dinner Key Auditorium, an old, stuffy hall near the harbour, constructed of corrugated iron. He sat down in a bar at the airport and drank. As there were no more direct flights, he had to change planes in New Orleans around noon, and had to wait several hours for the connecting flight. He passed his time in a restaurant, where he consumed some more drinks, after which he also missed the connecting flight. Further hours of waiting for the next connecting flight to Miami were spent drinking. Eventually he arrived at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, just minutes before the beginning of the concert. He was totally drunk. The atmosphere backstage was already at its lowest point. Against an arrangement that had been made, several thousand extra spectators had been squeezed into the venue. On top of this, the promoter had raised the price of the tickets by one dollar on his own authority. And when Bill Siddons, the new manager of The Doors, voiced a desire to cancel the concert with regard to this, he discovered that the lorry that had picked up the band's equipment from the airport had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. In the meantime inside the hall, which normally only held 7,000 people, 13,000 fans were sweating. The Dinner Key Auditorium had no air conditioning.

"That, to me, was a perfect example of a mass hallucination, because I was up there on stage with him the whole time, you know, five feet away from him, and I ..., he never did it, man, he never pulled it out, he never took his pants off. But some people swore they saw it. And what they were seeing were the snakes and demons in their own minds that Jim was ... Jim had turned into the snake man, into the 'Lizard King', and they saw the 'Lizard King' pull it out. They didn't see Jim Morrison pull it out, 'cos Jim Morrison didn't. What they think they saw is another story. It was a mass hallucination, man, it was a very, very strange night in Miami, Florida: hot, sweaty, summer night. The place held eight thousand people and they'd packed in about twelve to fifteen thousand. No air conditioning. And Jim was a little drunk that night, and he was really giving a good rap to the audience. And the music was strange. And people just saw demons, saw snakes!"
(Ray Manzarek in an interview with Jimmy Fryer, May 1974)

The surviving Doors' recollections of Miami, always choosing their wordscarefully, and sometimes slightly romanticising the evening, all mask the unalterable fact that in reality the concert was pure chaos. Someone in the audience had recorded the concert. This recording, which played an important, but sadly not a crucial role, in the subsequent court case, largely reflected what had happened that night. With this recording, as well as with numerous photographs and witness accounts, the performance in Miami can virtually be reconstructed.

More and more about this show: Doors Quarterly
A true story by David E. LeVine: Click
The Miami Incident by Jan E. Morris: Click
Lots of pics from this show: Click

Get "The Doors: On The Road" by Greg Shaw: Click

Download link in comments.

I can't recommend regular music fans to listen this awful audience recording.
But this is one of the most legendary rock concert of all time.


Blogger Lizardson said...


13 January, 2007 00:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have an amazing collection. Great blog!

Any chance of posting "llouis + Decuyper"?

13 January, 2007 04:06  
Anonymous SCION said...

Thanks Lizardson!

So - how's the sound quality on this one? There are great boots made from FM broadcasts or taken from first-generation "board" tapes, and then there's pretty awful audience-cassettes.
Anyone that has grabbed it - your opinion?

13 January, 2007 09:04  
Anonymous Nildro-hain said...

Thanks for this! Personally, I would have paid good money to see Jim Morrison expose himself- disrespectful, poetic, drunk, prophetic or not... It seems that he exposed a great deal more of himself in his music which I am very grateful for.

13 January, 2007 09:33  
Anonymous Bruce said...

What great a story about the 'Miami bust'. I remember all the controversy about it in 1970 and I always assumed it was straightforward, but these links set the story straight. Great stuff.

13 January, 2007 13:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great one again, lizardson!!!!!
Thank you for this historical concert!


13 January, 2007 22:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truely historic stuff.
Sound quality not as bad as I had expected - for an audience tape of that age.

14 January, 2007 09:20  
Anonymous olli said...

Thanks so much - been a Doors fan for a long time now and it's good to get such an amazing historical document - thanks again!!!

14 January, 2007 20:02  

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