On my spring break from Boston University in 1969 I visited a high school friend who was a photography student and darkroom assistant at the University of Miami. My goal for the week was to have him teach me how to take black and white photographs, develop and print them. We spent our days walking around the Grove with our cameras. I intuitively experienced a wide spectrum of emotions from taking still life and candid people photographs.
One afternoon my friend came home and said “I’ve got two press passes to the Doors Concert tonight. Do you want to go?” So off we went cameras in hand. We pushed our TRI-X film to ASA 1600 and waited at the edge of the stage. And waited. Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore eventually appeared on stage. They proceeded to hammer out deliberate and sultry chord progressions. We all waited for Morrison to show up. It seemed like an hour or hour and a half went by. Like an apparition Morrison suddenly appeared in what was a noticeable altered state of consciousness. (Years later I learned he missed two flights from LA and New Orleans and got drunk while waiting in the airports.)
As you can imagine the crowd by then was restless and primed. But instead of being treated to the raw, throaty sound of his voice singing his poetic primal lyrics we were throttled with a barrage of verbal taunts and epileptic like fits.
And so it went. As the band kept knocking out instrumental chords from their hit songs Morrison sang a few lyrics in between his ranting and antics. Soon the half hearted attempt to sing a complete song gave way to a full fledged Dionysian rant of love, love, love, having fun, and grab your f*cking friend until it hurts. All while altering his mood from passively swooning into the microphone to manically jumping up and down and writhing on the floor.
Then he disappeared back stage… while the band kept hammering endless chords. He eventually returned with the infamous lamb in his arms. Somberly he slithered up to the microphone, paused, glanced down at the lamb and then slowly looked into the eyes of the crowd and spoke his infamous words – “I’d f*ck it, but it’s too young.”
That was lift off. The crowd roared in sympathy with the late 60’s mind set of love your neighbor. Morrison now had the crowd where he wanted them – in an anti-authoritarian frenzy. He started grabbing his crotch, putting his hands down his leather pants.
Did he or didn’t he expose himself is the legendary question. Not to be anticlimactic but the answer is emphatically no. What he did do was the old school yard prank of unzipping his fly and sticking his finger through it.
Like a devil incarnate he enticed the girls in the audience to join him on stage. The teenie poppers wrapped their arms around him and breathed “f*ck me Jim, f*ck me.
That was the beginning of the end. It was time for the cops to stop the frenzy from turning into a riot. Out of the shadows they came throwing girls off the stage. That was Morrison’s cue. He snuck up behind one cop’s back and flung his hat into Dinner Key Auditorium antiestablishment orbit. Concert over…
The next day I developed the film in a bath of Diafine developer. Back in the darkroom the following day I printed several of the negatives. The prints were stuffed in a manila envelope where they remained for 22 years.
I was hooked on image making. I became a college yearbook photographer documenting the student protests and life in Boston during late 1969 and 1970. I went on to teach a university photography course, started a stock photography business and exhibited artistic photo images for many years before changing professions.
So when the Oliver Stone’s film The Doors was about to come out I had a strong premonition that Rolling Stone Magazine would be running a cover story on the Doors. I called the photo editor, went to her office where I showed her the photos in my manila envelope. I remember her jaw kind of dropping in surprise. Nobody had seen any images of that infamous night before. She ran two of my pictures in the middle of the article and the rest is history as they say. Danny Sugarman contacted me and bought several frames from my contact sheets. Over the years the images were reproduced in both Doors box CD sets “The Doors Box CD Set” and “The Doors Perception”, The cover of the “Live in Miami” CD, the book “Doors”, and the documentary movie by Tom Dicillo “When You’re Strange”. And, of course, all the pirated uses displayed all over the internet.
So now after 46 years I have decided to make them available to the public in handsomely digitally reproduced archival museum quality prints.
To fans of Jim Morrison and The Doors and American music culture I know you will enjoy these never before available, one of a kind images documenting Jim Morrison’s most memorable concert at The Dinner Key Auditorium at the Coconut Grove March 1, 1969.
Initially I am offering three prints in three different formats. In the near future additional images from that infamous night will be made available as well.
Enjoy the historical memories,
That was lift off. The crowd roared in sympathy with their late 60’s love thy neighbor mindset. Morrison now had us right where he wanted – in an anti-authoritarian frenzy. He grabbed his crotch and reached down his leather pants, a historic act that would later beg the legendary question, did he expose himself? The answer, to which I can emphatically attest, is no. It was just a school-yard prank of sticking his finger through his unzipped fly.
Like a devil incarnate he enticed women to join him on stage. The teeny-boppers wrapped their arms around him and breathed “fuck me Jim, fuck me!" And that was the beginning of the end of this performance.
Out of the shadows arrived the police, throwing girls off the stage, making blanket arrests, intimidating the rest of us just enough to avoid an all-out riot. And that was Morrison’s cue. He snuck up behind one cop’s back and flung his patrol hat into Dinner Key Auditorium antiestablishment orbit. The rest is history.
The next day I developed the film in a Diafine developer bath. The negatives were thin and underexposed which compounded the challenge for me. Remember, I had only been doing this for 6 days! All in, I came out with six to ten worthy prints from the show.
Although the prints would remain in a manila envelope for 22 years, my passion for photography and image making would continue to blossom from that day forward. I became the college yearbook photographer documenting life in Boston during late 1969 and 1970 from student protests to sporting events. I would take photos of just about every concert I went to in the 70's, go on to become a University photography teacher, start a stock photography business and exhibit artistic photo images for many years to come.
So when Oliver Stone's The Doors was rumored to come out in '91 I had a strong premonition that Rolling Stone Magazine would be doing a cover story on the band. After a few phone calls I walked into the photo editor's office with my manila envelope. I remember her jaw dropping in surprise. Nobody had seen any images of that infamous night before. She ran two of my pictures in the middle of the article and the rest is history as they say. Danny Sugarman, The Doors' manager, contacted me and licensed several frames from my contact sheets. Over the years the images have appeared in both The Doors CD box sets, the Live in Miami CD cover, the book The Doors, the documentary movie by Tom Dicillo, When You’re Strange, and, of course, countless unlicensed re-uses around the web.
I've made it a hobby over the last 15 years to perfect a handsomely reproduced, museum quality, archival print to frame for my home and give away to family.
And now I am making them available for sale to you!
To fans of Jim Morrison, The Doors and American music culture in general, I know you will enjoy these rare images documenting one of the most iconic moments in music history. The Doors at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium, March 1, 1969.
You may also notice a few of my non-The Doors prints being offered on this site. I take tremendous pride in these prints as well, none of which would exist were it not for that fateful trip to Miami in 1969. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.