[Ed-M: Not enough original analysis. Going to board.]
Check out "The Doors' Disaster at Michigan", a new article in Michigan Today by Alan Glenn. It tells the story of the disastrous appearance by The Doors at Michigan's 1967 Homecoming dance.
Then it was time for the Doors, who took the stage to enthusiastic applause—but without singer Jim Morrison. The other three band members launched into the opening riff of their song "Soul Kitchen," which they proceeded to play over and over while everyone waited for Morrison to appear.
"After a while it started to get uncomfortable," says Fred LaBour. "There was scattered booing." LaBour recalls that the band withdrew and then returned about half an hour later, this time accompanied by their charismatic bad-boy vocalist, who seemed in no condition to be on stage. "Morrison could barely stand up. He was practically falling on his face every few moments."
[Opening act] The Long Island Sound's Steve Welkom, who had stayed to hear the Doors, remembers Morrison lurching up to the microphone and making weird sounds that the audience soon realized were words—and that the words were f-bombs.
"At the time it was kind of an outrageous thing to say," explains Welkom. "The girls started to blush, and guys were putting their hands over the girls' ears. These were guys with crew cuts. They were football players. It wasn't the hippest dance you could possibly imagine."
Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek remembers that evening well. It all started, he says, when the band decided to stop for a frosty treat while riding in the limo from Detroit to Ann Arbor.
At the show's beginning, Jim Morrison was so inebriated he could barely stand. But at the end of the night, when most of the crowd had departed, the Doors returned to the stage to deliver what Welkom described as one of the best concerts he's ever seen. (Photo: Jay Cassidy.)
"We all wanted some ice cream," explains Manzarek. "But Jim says, 'Ice cream is for babies. I want whiskey.' So we had to stop at a liquor store and buy a bottle of booze." Something about the others eating their ice cream seemed to set Morrison off, and for the rest of the trip he sat in the back, drinking sullenly.
By the time they reached Ann Arbor, remembers Manzarek, the singer was "drunk as a skunk." When he finally came out on stage he was unable, and perhaps unwilling, to perform.
Like most others, [Jim] Osterberg watched in astonishment as Morrison stumbled around the stage, making strange noises, swearing, and generally antagonizing the audience. Except instead of being annoyed by the singer's behavior, Osterberg thought it was cool.
Inspired by what he had witnessed, the former member of the Ann Arbor High debate team adopted the nom de guerre of Iggy Pop, and with his band the Stooges went on to alter rock and roll history. His outrageous onstage antics and heedless, often belligerent attitude toward his fans—as well as his apparent lack of musical ability—helped encourage a generation of young rebels to pick up guitars and launch the punk rock phenomenon of the late '70s.
Read the article for the rest of the story including how the portion of the audience that stuck with the show were later rewarded. And don't miss the comments. Lots of good stuff from '60s era alums who were there.