Behind the Poster: The Doors New Orleans
The Doors played what turned out to be the band’s final concert with Jim Morrison fifty years ago on December 12, 1970, at the fabled A Warehouse concert hall on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans. While the performance itself went so poorly the band called off the tour the next day, the Warehouse show has passed into rock ‘n’ roll legend much like Morrison himself.
The Doors broke out of Los Angeles with 1967’s “Light My Fire,” and Morrison was the leather pants-wearing Lizard King, a charismatic counterculture sex symbol shaman who excited audiences. But by the time he arrived onstage at A Warehouse, “he had been living his life like a Roman candle burning at both ends for the last five years,” said David Dutkowski, The Doors’ official archivist.
The 20-song set opened with “Roadhouse Blues” and “Back Door Man.” At some point, Morrison stopped singing and sat down. “Multiple band members said it was like something left him at that moment,” says Dutkowski. “Ray Manzarek (who died in 2013) swore he looked up from his keyboard and saw Jim’s spirit leave his body. He swears the shamanistic energy, the soul of Jim Morrison, flowed out of his body and with it, the will to perform.”
During the final song, “The End,” Morrison lost it.
“I was standing on the side of the stage at the end,” recalled concert promotor Don Fox. “Jim started talking about life and death and what was going on in the world in 1970. All of a sudden, he took the mic stand and started smashing it and smashing it right into the stage floor. And then he walks off.” Fox went over to where Morrison had been standing “and there’s a hole in the stage. He drove the mic stand right through. He’s the only artist I’ve ever seen put a hole in the stage.”
Following The Doors show at A Warehouse, Fox repaired the damaged section of the stage. Upon learning of Morrison’s death, he carved “In Memory of Jim Morrison” into the plywood patch. “In a strange way, the Warehouse and Jim Morrison are linked together forever.”
The female figure in the art by represents Jim Morrison’ shamanistic energy, her gown intertwined with The St. Louis Cathedral one of New Orleans' most notable landmarks and North Americas oldest cathedral. She is holding the sun, representing the traditional folk song "The House of the Rising Sun" which tells of a person's life gone wrong in the city of New Orleans.