Chaos and confusion: Jim Morrison’s final show with The Doors

Jim Morrison

Any performance by The Doors felt more like an art piece than a concert. While Morrison chose rock & roll, he often played songs in their traditional form during the band’s performances. Alternatively, he stretched out the track with other pieces of poetry he had at his disposal. Although they caused a frenzy wherever they went, their final show was the result of years of chaos.

By the time the group began touring in 1970, they had returned to their blues-infused roots. After The Soft Parade’s jazz influences, Morrison Hotel saw the band embracing a 12-bar format, focusing on blues-soaked performances. This resulted in blues-soaked performances on tracks like ‘Roadhouse Blues.’

While their musical technique has evolved, Morrison was not willing to compromise his voice. As seen by tracks like ‘Peace Frog‘, ‘The Lizard King‘ was still attempting to conjure vivid pictures in the listener’s head. He depicts a child witnessing a wreck on the highway, and the event severely affects the child.

Morrison’s fondness for theatrical theatrics was only rivaled by his drinking. Though the frontman was known to live an extravagant lifestyle, the only habit he maintained throughout his career was his alcoholism. It frequently put him in trouble onstage when he flew off the handle.

By the time the band arrived in Miami, Morrison’s antics had gotten the best of him. His arrest for indecent exposure put a stop to their touring days for a while. As the group had time to reorganize by making their next album, LA Woman, they played their final gig in Louisiana in December 1970. They showcased songs from the upcoming album such as ‘Hyacinth House‘ and the current single, ‘Love Her Madly.’

Instead of the seasoned veteran that fans had grown to know in the early days, Morrison had transformed. He became a rock and roll victim in front of their eyes. He swapped his characteristic style for a lengthy beard and became nearly unrecognizable to his admirers. Midway through the show, Morrison fell to the stage floor while attempting to replicate the spirit of his early days.

As he stood still on the floor, keyboardist Ray Manzarak realized that the group’s days as a touring band had ended. Archivist David Dutkowski recalls, “Ray Manzarek glanced up from his piano and watched Morrison’s spirit depart his body”. He swears Jim Morrison’s shamanistic energy, or soul, spilled out of his body, along with the urge to perform.”

After numerous attempts to return the band onstage, the event rapidly descended into chaos. Morrison tried to sing another song. Drummer John Densmore, who had to spend some time sitting on the drum riser, eventually brought the act to a close. He did so by tossing down his drumsticks and storming out.

This would also be Jim Morrison’s final high-profile appearance since he traveled to Paris after finishing La Woman before passing away from heart failure. The Doors may have attempted to persevere throughout the album sessions. However, fans seeking the band that changed their perception of rock and roll witnessed the group’s demise that night in Louisiana.

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