the doors jim morrison at danbury high schoolDanbury High School
Danbury, Ct. - 17 October 1967

by David Lilly

Set List:

Moonlight Drive
Break on Through
Back Door Man
People Are Strange
The Crystal Ship
Wake Up
Light My Fire
The End/Names of the Kingdom/See a Rider/The End

SQ: A - not the best but far from the worst…turn up the volume and you’re in the audience.

What kind of adult uses a stern, even threatening tone, to tell an auditorium full of high school kids to remain seated and calm - as they sit in anticipation of a concert by a hot, new rock band? I’ll be polite and use the terms "uptight" and "kill-joy." If Jim Morrison heard her announcement, well, some of us can just about see his wheels spinning, setting off some mischievous reactions. By the somewhat lively sound of his voice during the first song, "Moonlight Drive/Horse Latitudes" (despite its very chopped up appearance on the recording), that may very well have happened. This is a show that, once we’ve heard it, many Doors’ fans would like to see a film of. Photos would be better than nothing.

The Doors played a version of "Money" that’s a bit different from the version the Beatles played, but Morrison’s voice is just as effective on the song as Lennon’s - controlled, yet unrestrained and emotional. Next is a good, ragged "Break On Through," including some spoken/sung poetry, followed (or interrupted on the recording) by a fast rendition of "Back Door Man." Jim sounds like he’s having a pretty good time, so it would be especially interesting to see what he was doing, even while not singing. On the heels of BDM comes an energetic, but still spooky version of "People Are Strange." Then comes an effective, dramatic pause before we hear the prelude of shadows from the eerie "Crystal Ship." Later comes the keyboard solo that reeks of isolation, enhancing the lonely lyrics Jim sang. The band then pours right into "Wake Up," as Jim speaks the sinister sounding poem, and the "smooth hissing snakes" lead into a slightly rapid, but normally lengthy "Light My Fire."

At this point, given the provocative mood of a Doors’ show, one has to wonder if the opening announcer has departed the auditorium, or is watching the teenaged audience like a hawk, for signs of disobedience.

After pondering that…let the opening strains of Robby’s Middle-Eastern guitar-work lead you into the spooky spell of "The End." Allow Morrison’s improvised poetry to wash over you as he deviates from the words you’re used to hearing during the "The End" on the band’s eponymous debut album. Allow yourself to go with the flow of Jim’s words, and the mood created by them and the music here. This is a somewhat shortened version of the song. During the Oedipal section, Jim manages to scream the most offensive line so subtly that it can be heard, but is barely audible. Despite the short and hurried version they played, The Doors managed to retain the general feeling of this musical epic. Jim certainly hurled "I wanna kill you" with convincing passion. One wonders if that dark passion is actually directed paternally, or to the unresolved emotional pain caused by his upbringing in general – or both.

Just as ironic as the announcer’s tone at the beginning is her seemingly sincere comment, "wonderful show…thank you," at the conclusion.

This isn’t one of the most controversial Doors’ shows, but it is a valid document of what they were like in 1967. Very good show. Definitely worth your while to get a copy of it.

Copyright 2001/2002 by David Lilly/

The Doors at Danbury High School