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The Doors at Hollywood Bowl: Ray Manzarek Looks Back at Show and Mick Jagger's Flirtation With Jim Morrison's Girlfriend
- Posted on Dec 5th 2012 6:30PM by Chris Epting
We get the Hollywood Bowl show in its entirety, including the previously unseen "Hello, I Love You," and an hour of previously unseen footage of the concert. Spinner had the pleasure of speaking with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek about the legendary concert and how it involved the Rolling Stones.
What do remember about the night of the show?
It was a warmer-than-usual night at the Hollywood Bowl. A nice, really warm night. And it's usually not that warm in L.A. at night, because L.A. is a desert, and the desert gets cold at night. But this was like a balmy, warm summer night in early July. There was something in the air; a warmth in the air that allowed for a Dionysian night intensity [laughs].
And the venue itself held something special for the Doors, right?
The Hollywood Bowl was the ultimate West-Coast venue. It was a summertime version of Carnegie Hall. If you were a musician, that's where you wanted to play, no doubt about it. I believe Igor Stravinsky conducted at the Hollywood Bowl. Aaron Copeland conducted there. I was there to see him conduct "Billy the Kid" and there we are, we're on the same stage where he led the symphonic orchestra. The great American composer, and then us, and I hesitate to say it but I'll say it nonetheless, but us, the great American rock band. Hard to imagine. Just fabulous.
What songs popped in particular that night?
"Light My Fire" was a magnificent performance. I think I played one of the best solos I ever played at that performance. If you watch the concert you see the whole band locking into that ineffable sweet spot that musicians are capable of hitting, where nothing exists except the passion of that time. It's so totally Zen. Morrison playing the maraca, egging me on! He's doing like Kerouac did for the beatnik poets at the famed Six Gallery reading in 1956. When Ginsberg read "Howl" for the first time, and all the other poets were there, Kerouac out in the audience saying "Go man, go!" That's what Morrison was doing to me -- "Go, Ray, go!" for me it was very historic; a moment.
And Morrison obviously rose to the occasion, too.
Absolutely, he performed the whole concert with extreme intensity. This has a psychological, spiritual intensity that the Doors tried to -- this is like the Whisky A Go Go show set in front of 14,000 people. It may not have been an overly spectacular physical performance although Morrison doing "The End," my god, he is a Shaman. When we get into the double-time section, he becomes the Shaman you've been waiting to see. It's incredible. The performance of that song is something you'd never seen a lead singer do before or since. He was gone. He had entered that Shamic-space and you can actually see that happen at the Hollywood Bowl.
What was the feeling like just after the show?
We toasted each other with champagne at the Hollywood Bowl, to a great performance. It started subtly then climaxed. That show was like great sex! The Doors having sex with their Los Angeles audience.
There's a rumor that Mick Jagger can be seen in the audience on the DVD.
Jagger was there and, come of think of it, all of the Stones were there, as well. We all had dinner before the show with the Stones. Now I don't know where they were during the show, but there are rumors that Jim's girl was sitting on Jagger's lap. And I remember our meal with the band before the show, at Mouling's Chinese restaurant, a long-gone place that specialized in Navy Grog and special tropical drinks.
The opening acts that night were pretty special, too.
Wow, it was the Chamber Brothers and Steppenwolf. What a show, man! The Chambers Brothers were coming off "Time," their big hit. My soul had been psychedelized by the Chambers Brothers. And Steppenwolf, "Born to be Wild" -- head out on the highway. Amazing.
Do you feel there is a young audience today that is also transfixed by the Doors?
Oh yeah. The kids come to the shows that Robbie [Krieger, Doors guitarist] and I do today. We do Doors tunes and the 14, 15 and 16 year olds all come out. And what a compliment that is. So many smart kids today. It's the kids who read that have an expanded attention span that get us. They get the words, and the musical vibrations. As a walking human animal, we feel the Doors digging into a nerval, psychic space. And these kids feel that.