Morrison is reported to have wanted to kill the crowd.......
Later Ray refers to the evening as their worst show of all-time!
"You could feel our nervousness backstage when Paul came in to wish us luck. He was very friendly. I dunno if it was that nervousness or that Jim just hated folk music but he gave Simon the worst vibes. In short of saying 'Get the Fuck out of our dressing room'......to the guy who hired us. Then we went onstage and Jim didn't give an inch. He didn't try to connect to the audience in any way. At the end of our set during the 'father I want to kill you' section Jim put all the bottled up hatred into slamming the mike down and screaming....it lasted about a minute. The audience woke up a bit and started to think about what they were seeing. After the intermission Paul & Arty walked on stage to thunderous applause."
John Densmore ROTS
August 12th 1967 Forest Hills, Queens NY
Though "Light My Fire" was number one, life was not a bed of roses for The Doors. One of the first
thorns of big-time success came on August 12th at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York when the band opened for Simon and Garfunkel. Jac Holzman had played a tape of the band for Paul Simon maintaining that The Doors were going to be the biggest group in America. Simon agreed and allowed them to open at Forest Hills, but when he stopped by their dressing room to wish them luck Morrison was cool and distant. Onstage Jim had the same attitude and the thirteen thousand folk lovers in attendance were not the least impressed. "I don't think I ever felt worse on a stage then I did at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium," Ray Manzarek recalls. "I didn't know whether I was playing Forest Hills or Forest Lawn Cemetery. We were in hell. That was one of the all-time lows." After the band's set,Morrison walked offstage in a slump. He had been rejected before, but that was in cheap bars that were mostly
devoid of real music lovers. This was thirteen thousand people in Forest Hills Stadium. Danny Fields, Elektra's
Publicity Director, asked Morrison what was wrong and he said, "They hated it. They laughed at me." Fields said later that Morrison was so angry he wanted to kill the entire crowd.
Break On Through, James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky
Simon and Garfunkel headline the performance this evening, and the choice of the Doors as the opening act is a musical mismatch. Their dark and foreboding music makes a poor contrast to the more folk and
harmony-oriented duo. Simon and Garfunkel are enthusiastically welcomed as local heroes, a "homegrown" success story,with the duo having originally met and graduated from Forest Hill's P.S. 164. This is a Simon and Garfunkel audience, and they have no qualms about expressing their displeasure with the opening band.
The night is off to a difficult start when the Doors' equipment flight fails to arrive on time, and the band has to hustle to borrow instruments. After an awkward delay, the Doors hit the stage to substantial applause, which rapidly declines into a pervasive silence. As the show begins, Morrison stands staring out at the crowd, then hoarsely growls "This is the end!" and the band launches into their first number. The band plays exceptionally well, especially considering the circumstances, but the audience response is nominal. They perform an abbreviated set of four songs, concluding with a striking version of "The End," and abruptly leave the stage after about a half hour. Paul Simon is so disturbed by the harsh reaction to The Doors that he takes the stage and reprimands the audience for their animosity, describing how difficult the
music business can be for new groups. In the meantime, The Doors have already left the scene, deeply
distressed by how callous the audience has been. Later, they will refer to this show as one of the all-time lows in their career.
New York's Variety reveals a subtle animosity toward The Doors in a review of the Simon and Garfunkel show:
"The opening slot on the show was held down by The Doors, an electronically rigged combo with a lead singer who goes into paroxysms of caterwauling every other number. Is it for real or is he doing it for the money?"
However, the Cash Box review is substantially more generous in its appraisal of the band:
"Not only was there a vibrant show for the ears due to the majestic artistry of each member of The Doors; but the eyes were given an antic performance by Morrison and others who were spotlighted in lengthy solos during 'Light My Fire,' in an extended playing of the team's number one outing. In spite of the overwhelming reception of 'Fire,' the team achieved new heights in their follow up number that closed the act, 'The End.' Licks by the organist, drummer, guitarist and lead showed the throng that there is tremendous individual talent as well as a mighty group sound behind the Doors."
Forest Hills bears the dubious distinction of having provided some of the most antagonistic audiences for rock performers in the 1960s. Bob Dylan's second performance with an "electric" band there on August 28, 1965 was met with such raucous hostility that even his infamous appearance at the Newport Folk Festival three days earlier pales in comparison. When the Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared there as the opening act for the Monkees just two months before The Doors show, the booing was so relentless that it prompted the Experience to abandon the tour.
The Doors On The Road, Greg Shaw
Nobody is here to see The Doors and the show is an absolute bust. This isn't there kind of crowd.Ý Nearly all the 13,000 in attendance are here to see the homegrown Simon and Garfunkel. The Doors only play four songs in a short 30 minute set in which they had to borrow equipment just to play because theirs did not show up as scheduled. Later Ray refers to this evening as their worst show of all-time!
Doors Interactive History