Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

doors-ind

The Doors’ disaster at Michigan

By Alan Glenn
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Light my fire

Doors introduction at U-M

‘I WAS A BIG FAN’ OF THE DOORS, RECALLS FRED LABOUR. BUT THEN SINGER JIM MORRISON CAME ON STAGE VERY LATE, AND VERY DRUNK. (PHOTO: JAY CASSIDY.)

These days the University of Michigan doesn’t seem to get too excited over homecoming. But in the 1960s it was a different story. Back then the weekend’s schedule of events often read like a scene from the movie “Animal House.”

In addition to the usual pep rallies and tug-of-wars were chariot races, bed races, elephant races (with real elephants), sky divers, go-go girls, the Mud Bowl, and a grand parade through the streets of Ann Arbor, complete with student-built floats, local politicians, celebrity alumni, Playboy bunnies, and Sonny Elliot.

During the ’60s, homecoming weekend also featured concerts by one or more prominent national music acts, including such notables as the Righteous Brothers, the Four Tops, the Beach Boys, and Dionne Warwick. For 1967 the organizers lined up folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, and, for the Friday night dance at the Intramural Sports Building, the Doors.

When the Doors took the stage on the evening of Oct. 20, the surprisingly small audience was in for a unique experience—but for all the wrong reasons. The concert would turn out to be a memorable disaster. But beyond disappointing hundreds of fans, that fateful show would also prove to be an event that may well have altered the history of rock and roll.

Break on through

Among those in the crowd that night was 19-year-old U-M sophomore Fred LaBour, who happily paid $3 for himself and a date to see the band whose hypnotic single “Light My Fire” had been burning up the charts since June.

“I was a big fan,” recalls LaBour, today better known as “Too Slim” of the country and western act Riders in the Sky. (He was also one of the prime sources behind the 1969 rumor that Paul McCartney was dead.) “I loved the first album, front to back. The weird circus grooves, the poetry, ‘The End,’ even a Kurt Weill song. Such a unique, compelling sound.”

Doors on stage at U-M

BEFORE IT ALL WENT WRONG: THE DOORS ON STAGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN INTRAMURAL BUILDING IN OCTOBER, 1967. (PHOTO: JAY CASSIDY.)

The opening act that evening was the Long Island Sound, one of the campus’s top dance bands. By all accounts their set was well-received, and included a number of tracks from the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” released only a few months before.

Then it was time for the Doors, who took the stage to enthusiastic applause—but without singer Jim Morrison. The other three band members launched into the opening riff of their song “Soul Kitchen,” which they proceeded to play over and over while everyone waited for Morrison to appear.

“After a while it started to get uncomfortable,” says Fred LaBour. “There was scattered booing.” LaBour recalls that the band withdrew and then returned about half an hour later, this time accompanied by their charismatic bad-boy vocalist, who seemed in no condition to be on stage. “Morrison could barely stand up. He was practically falling on his face every few moments.”

STEVE WELKOM AND THE BAND LONG ISLAND SOUND BECAME THE HEROES OF THE NIGHT. (PHOTO: JAY CASSIDY.)

STEVE WELKOM AND THE BAND LONG ISLAND SOUND BECAME THE HEROES OF THE NIGHT. (PHOTO: JAY CASSIDY.)

People are strange

The Long Island Sound’s Steve Welkom, who had stayed to hear the Doors, remembers Morrison lurching up to the microphone and making weird sounds that the audience soon realized were words—and that the words were f-bombs.

“At the time it was kind of an outrageous thing to say,” explains Welkom. “The girls started to blush, and guys were putting their hands over the girls’ ears. These were guys with crew cuts. They were football players. It wasn’t the hippest dance you could possibly imagine.”

The atmosphere in the unseasonably warm gymnasium grew tense as the audience’s shock turned to anger. The Long Island Sound’s Gary Munce recalls that Morrison was “in a foul state of mind” and proceeded to crank up the temperature a few more degrees when he started throwing things into the crowd.

“That’s when it got really nasty.”

At some point the police were called and the the pie-eyed singer was persuaded to leave the stage, very likely averting an outbreak of violence.

“People were mad,” recalls Steve Welkom. “The place was in chaos.”

Wild child

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek remembers that evening well. It all started, he says, when the band decided to stop for a frosty treat while riding in the limo from Detroit to Ann Arbor.

“We all wanted some ice cream,” explains Manzarek. “But Jim says, ‘Ice cream is for babies. I want whiskey.’So we had to stop at a liquor store and buy a bottle of booze.”

Something about the others eating their ice cream seemed to set Morrison off, and for the rest of the trip he sat in the back, drinking sullenly.

By the time they reached Ann Arbor, remembers Manzarek, the singer was “drunk as a skunk.” When he finally came out on stage he was unable, and perhaps unwilling, to perform.

“He was missing all the cues, and at some point started berating the audience. I’m thinking, ‘Jim, do not anger these guys! These are football players. Look at the thickness of their necks!’ But he just kept going on and on.”

Drunk Jim Morrison

AT THE SHOW’S BEGINNING, JIM MORRISON WAS SO INEBRIATED HE COULD BARELY STAND. BUT AT THE END OF THE NIGHT, WHEN MOST OF THE CROWD HAD DEPARTED, THE DOORS RETURNED TO THE STAGE TO DELIVER WHAT WELKOM DESCRIBED AS ONE OF THE BEST CONCERTS HE’S EVER SEEN. (PHOTO: JAY CASSIDY.)

Finally guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore walked off the stage, “outraged and disgusted.”

A desperate Manzarek grabbed up a guitar and fingered a few blues chords, hoping to get something—anything—going. But “Morrison was too stoned to even sing the blues.”

Eventually the befuddled vocalist simply sat down on the riser. “I was totally shocked,” says Manzarek. “It was the first time he’d been that messed up on stage.”

Riders on the storm

Unfortunately it wasn’t the last. The brief remainder of Jim Morrison’s life would be filled with similar incidents—such as the show two days later at Williams College in Massachusetts, where before a hopelessly bewildered audience the singer staggered about in a daze and finally fell to the stage, sobbing.

It’s the Michigan fiasco, though, that really seems to stick out for Ray Manzarek—especially the memory of the angry, hulking linebackers with their coiffured dates. He’s grateful that the band was allowed to limp away unharmed.

“Jim put his arm over my shoulder and I helped him off the stage, and that was the end of the evening, man.”

At least one person found inspiration in Morrison’s strange, stumbling, antagonistic behavior: former U-M student Jim Osterberg, known today as Iggy Pop.
For the Doors, perhaps—but not for the Long Island Sound, who stepped in to become the heroes of the hour.

“The guys who were doing the dance came running up and asked us to play another set,” remembers Steve Welkom. “So we jumped up and started playing and everybody started dancing and it was great. We won the whole crowd, and everybody was happy.”

Even so, many probably felt the same disappointment as Fred LaBour at not getting to see the Doors perform. “I remember thinking, ‘What a crummy show.’ Jim Morrison wasn’t much of an entertainer that night, unless you happen to like watching out-of-control drunks careen and stagger, wondering how far they’ll go.”

Hello, I love you

At least one person in the crowd thought differently, however—a U-M dropout named Jim Osterberg, who had recently started his own rock band. Like most others, Osterberg watched in astonishment as Morrison stumbled around the stage, making strange noises, swearing, and generally antagonizing the audience. Except instead of being annoyed by the singer’s behavior, Osterberg thought it was cool.

Inspired by what he had witnessed, the former member of the Ann Arbor High debate team adopted the nom de guerre of Iggy Pop, and with his band the Stooges went on to alter rock and roll history. His outrageous onstage antics and heedless, often belligerent attitude toward his fans—as well as his apparent lack of musical ability—helped encourage a generation of young rebels to pick up guitars and launch the punk rock phenomenon of the late ’70s.

Iggy Pop performing

INSPIRED BY MORRISON’S ERRATIC, BELLIGERENT BEHAVIOR, U-M DROPOUT JIM OSTERBERG TRANSFORMED HIMSELF INTO THE PRE-PUNK HURRICANE IGGY POP. (PHOTO: LENI SINCLAIR.)

“At the time [Iggy] was being reviled, around 1970, rock music revolved around virtuosity,” says Paul Trynka, former editor of Mojo magazine and author of the biography Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed. “Once his impact was felt, from 1977, rock music revolved around feelings, emotions—like boredom, frustration, incoherent rage, and the joy of loud, explosive rock and roll. Without Iggy there’d be no Sex Pistols, no Nirvana, no White Stripes.”

Which makes it even more fascinating to consider that if the impressionable young Jim Osterberg had stuck around a little while longer that night at the I-M building, the world might have been denied—for better or worse—the powerful influence of punk rock’s original psychopath. Because it seems that after almost everyone had left, the Doors returned to the stage, complete with an inexplicably sober Jim Morrison, and played an entire set of their material, flawlessly.

“It was unbelievable,” says Steve Welkom. “I sat there with my girlfriend, and we just couldn’t believe it. The Doors sounded phenomenal. But there was almost nobody there to appreciate it.”

When the music’s over

Welkom understands the skepticism that often greets his telling of this story. “Fortunately I have a corroborating witness—my girlfriend, who is now my wife.”

His recollections are also backed up by bandmate John Nemerovski, and by a letter published in the Michigan Daily a few days after the dance. (There was no review.)

“I’ve been in the music business my whole life,” says Welkom, marveling at the memory of it all, “and that second set by the Doors was one of the top five shows I’ve ever seen.”

Were you at the Doors’ Michigan concert? Or at other shows at the IM building? What’s the best (or worst) concert you ever saw in college? Share your memories in the comments section below.

Alan Glenn

Alan Glenn

ALAN GLENN is a writer/historian based in Ann Arbor. He is president of the Michigan History Project whose latest publication is WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football. Alan is working on a documentary film about Ann Arbor in the '60s. For more information visit the film's website.

COMMENTS

  • Cyrus Sidhwa - 1999

    The Black Crowes came to Hill Auditorium after releasing their second album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. They were amazing. I was in the 5th row in the middle and lead singer Chris Robinson stopped a song to tell two idiots in the 3rd row to stop fighting. The amazing thing was that as soon as he was done berating them, the band flawlessly picked right back up in the middle of the song. Bassist Johnny Colt later knocked a potential stage climber right back into the crowd without missing a note. Awesome show.

    Reply

  • Jim Davis - 1978

    This happened a few years before my time at Michigan, but it’s a great, and evocative, story. Thanks for unearthing it for us. A weird event in what was an exceptionally weird and wondrous year, by all accounts, and perhaps the only time when crew cuts, frats, greasers, proto-hippies and God-knows-what-else were all in style at the same time. Morrison, it now seems, succumbed to that sort of zeitgeist-induced schizophrenia. He certainly embodied bits of fratdom and other, older modalities into his own mix of leather, LA counter-culture and pre-punk ethos. He was never really that archetypal hippie, was he? But he was, at least in this period of my late childhood, a God-like figure. Later on, and through most of my adult life, he functioned as a poster child for the excesses of that unholy marriage of self-indulgent poetry and cheesy, under-amplified, pseudo-jazz background music. Hardly the stuff of rock and roll legend. Only recently, for me, has he resolved back into the status of “unique” and “interesting”. Kind of the psychedelic version of Elvis, in a way. Regarding the audience described above, those thick-necked types were still a hazard to those involved in various weirdness in the mid-70′s–at least in my experience–and they remain so for those young enough to choose “different” paths now. Perhaps there’s a lesson for us there, although my Michigan education hasn’t qualified me to posit as to what it might be. I did live long enough to see hippies kick jocks asses more than once, so maybe I’ve lived a full life. Thanks again for the memory jog. I do wish I’d seen that second set.

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  • Keith Wood - 1969

    Yes, I was there.

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  • Tom Markus - 1969

    I have really poor memories of homecoming. I know I was in the IM Building for a homecoming dance. It may have been the concert written about. But somehow the name Johnny Rivers comes to mind also along with Jim Morrison. Does this make sense?

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  • Sandy Simon - 1970

    My now husband and I were there and remember this well… although I don’t remember the 2nd set as “flawless”, more a bit “soul-less”. We had the feeling someone clued them in that they wouldn’t be paid unless they got out there and performed something. Long Island Sound was fantastic and very diplomatically tried to ignore people urging them to play one of their best — “Light My Fire”.

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  • Don Canada - med'59

    In 1953-54 I attended the Junior Prom in the IM building. Buddy Morrow, who died last month at 91, was there with his band. He played his famous rendition of “Night Train”.
    It was so crowded that the dancing consisted of moving back and forth in one spot. It was warm but everyone was pleased.

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  • Joan Oleck - 1971

    I was close the front of the crowd, excited to be so close to this band that I worshipped. And here was this inebriated, spaced-out idiot who could barely sing the lyrics. I had paid waitressing money to see this!
    Yet, somehow, this guy still held my attention–that’s how charismatic Jim Morrison was. I also can’t forget that he was wearing leather pants that, um, outlined his rather attractive physique.
    And the music! The Doors went on to give us some great, great music. I remain a fan to this day.
    As for John Nemerovski: John, if you’re reading this and remember me from our days in North London, hello!

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    • Jeff Eberts - 1972

      Who says that size doesn`t matter? Thanks, Joan, for clearing up any doubts that anybody ever had.

      Reply

  • Chris Block - 1982/84

    Favorite UM concerts:

    -Talking Heads at Mendelssohn Theatre 1978
    -Prince at Hill Auditorium
    Bruce Springsteen opening night for the River Tour at Crisler Arena, first song I think Rosalita, and he couldn’t remember the words, had to go backstage for lyrics. Joined on stage by Bob Seger for encore

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  • David Goodrich - 1970

    Alan, thanks for the article on the Doors concert. Confirms my memories of a strange evening at the IM building. Have often thought about stopping by the Daily building to look at articles from that fall with the Doors concert in mind. Somewhat symbolic of the changes that were to impact M and Ann Arbor over the next several years.

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  • Stephen Selbst - 1976 LSA

    Great story.

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  • Ollie Bratton - 1973

    In the years from 1969-73, Jefferson Airplane at Crisler, Allman Brothers (post the 2 important deaths) at Crisler, Steve Miller at Crisler,
    and that great blues show at Hill in 71 or 72 which featured Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells. That may have been the best.
    Also, Alice Coltrane was at Hill and I think Leon Thomas was on the same bill.

    Reply

  • Ben Schultz - 1973(1980)

    You prominently mention Fred LaBour; is he the same person as “Ticket Fred”, who took tickets and kept the audience amused with stories and music as Cinema Guild?

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  • Dwight Edwards - 1972 BS 1974 MA

    The evening of the Doors concert I went over to the Intramural Building to try to get in to the concert. Unfortunately, the concert was sold out before we reached the entrance after waiting for the doors to open. While waiting in line on the side walk, a car pulled up and lo and behold, the members of the Doors got out. I can still remember seeing the back door open and Morrison putting a nearly empty bottle of wine or booze down on the street beside the curb. He then with obvious difficulty pulled himself out of the car, stretched and proceeded to enter the building. His drunken image all decked out in black leather and scraggly long black hair has stayed with me all of these years. His death from an overdose was not a surprise when the news came.

    The day after the concert, the feedback about the disaster spread like wildfire. There was a story shared that the Doors stopped off at a home in the Ann Arbor Area and engaged in more than just booze. When Jim got out of the car, there was a definite aroma of marijuana.

    It was disappointing to not get into the concert, but the coincidence of standing in line right where the Doors got out of their limo was worth every minute of the wait that night.

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  • Thom Johnson - 1970

    Thanks for the story, many friends to whom I have related this concert story (I was there) could not believe The Doors played at a dance at the IM building. As I remember even when they came back and completed a set they were still booed because their renditions did not exactly match the version on their album. The idea that “live in concert” could be different from the recorded version was not widely appreciated yet at that time.

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  • Mitzi Amelon - 1985

    I spent 4 years @ UM, including 2 spring half terms.Sadly, I never saw a concert there and don’t remember there being any to go see outside the couple of bars scatterd around town. Nor did I spend my 4 years in a catatonic stupor. Best concert I saw during that time was Uriah Heap @ the Royal Oak Music Theatre the night before Easter. Homecoming? What was that? Outside of a football game they labeled the “Homecoming Game”, there was nothing special. Wish I’d attended back in the 60′s. Sounds like there was more campus spirit back then.

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  • Clyde McKenzie - 70 and 74

    I was at that concert with my girl friend-now wife and remember it as an amazing evening. I thought that Morrison was doing some kind of theatre and was entertained by it in an apparently uninformed way. I knew Iggy in Junior High all-city band in A2 when he was Jim Osterberg (he was an impressive percussionist, not without musical talent and understanding as the article may have implied) and I knew Fred LaBour in a fraternity (sorry if that is supposed to be a secret, Slim. You didn’t stay long). The best part of my experience that night (within the IM Building) was the Long Island Sound set. They were really, really good. My greatest regret is that I recall that the dance was declared “over” and everyone was supposed to clear out – so I didn’t see the Doors second set. Now I’m haunted by the lost opportunity. How could we have had a better life experience than Ann Arbor in the late 60′s? It could get pretty amazing from time to time.

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  • Philip Stine - 1968 (Ph.D.)

    Instead of going to hear the Doors, I went to the Buffy Sainte-Marie concert that weekend, since this was the period of folk music and coffee houses. This was also the time of a new phenomenon, miniskirts. I don’t remember if the Michigan Daily said much about Buffy’s music in their review, but they sure commented on the view from the audience as she sat on a stool on the stage of Hill Auditorium in an excepetionally short skirt. I suspect that today that wouldn’t cause a ripple.

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  • kerry thomas - 1976

    I remember JM being described as ‘godlike’ and the irony was not lost on me. I thought him godlike in the manner of the greek gods, by turns, beautiful and vainglorious, inspired and drunk, ambitious and selfserving. Morrison originated what Iggy appropriated, but Iggy went places Morrison never lived to see.

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  • Joel Tractenberg - 1987

    Wow, wish I’d been there for that! Great story. Had my share of great shows in Ann Arbor though. My favorite was probably the Dream Syndicate performing at the Union ballroom in September of 1987. It was booked for the first week of school so there had been no advance notice of the show or any real way to advertise it in the mayhem of everyone arriving in ann arbor and getting settled into new housing and classes. So there were only about 50 people that showed up…me and my friends being among them since I was a writer for the Daily and was there to review the show and interview the band. Although the band was less than thrilled with the turnout, they put on an amazing high energy show and all 50 of us were sent into a sweaty frenzy of dancing and running around the ballroom. It was unbelievable to be so close and intimate with such a high powered band. Although they never achieved superstardom, that band absolutely rocked the house with their original sound and songs…plus a killer cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”. And in my interview with him, band frontman Steve Wynn proved himself to be intelligent, thoughtful and…wait for it…sober! Just goes to show you don’t have to be a wasted a-hole to be a great rock musician. Although apparently it helps.

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  • Mike Wavada - 1970

    Wait a minute. Are you saying that Fred LaBour had a date for the dance or that he just paid for himself and a date?

    What I remember about the Long Island Sound was their song “I want to be a cowboy.”

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  • Steve Ald - 1981

    I saw Iggy many times while at UM. He played in small bars and was not very popular except with the few of us into punk rock. I loved his shows. A terrific performer. I never missed a chance to see him. I was listening to the more current bands like the Sex Pistols and I would not have known who he was except a wiser hipper classmate clued me in.

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  • Keith Hanley - 1971

    My wife and I were there. We have told this story to our kids over the years and I don’t think they entirely believed us. I’m going to forward this story to all of them.

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  • Jay Guertin - 1970

    We were at the concert. It was exactly as stated in the article. Whenever the Doors come up in conversation, I tell the people we saw the Doors. They are impressed until I tell them the rest of the story. Great years at the U!

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  • Arthur Wollam - 1980

    Was only 13 in Oct 67; biggest thing I remember about that year was the Newark riot next door to my hometown of East Orange. But who alive in the past 40 years hasn’t enjoyed listening and dancing to Light My Fire!

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  • Les Wiletzky - 1969

    I was at the concert. I remember it was not a very good time. We left before the end. That was a long time ago and the details are fuzzy. Thanks for the article. I went to many concerts on campus from 1965-1969. The 1966 Beach Boys concert for Homecoming stands out. Tickets were hard to get. I spent the night sleeping on the steps of Hill Auditorium (along with many others) to get tickets. The concert was good. I remember it was being recorded live for a future album. The album was never made. However, there is one small part of the concert on the Beach Boys CD “Endless Harmony Soundtrack.” That was the only time I have camped out over night to buy anything. I’ve been a Beach Boys fan for life.

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    • Dane Peterson - 1990

      Les – just discovered the 1966 Beach Boys Concert was just released and is now available. Not too late to relive great memories! Who’s Got It Better Than Us?

      Reply

  • KEN WALL - 1971, 1973

    I was there and angry. Best concerts were given by the Byrds & Lovin Spoonfull.

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  • John Morrison - 1977

    Great story. The first 3 Stooges albums (’69-’73) are rock classics, and were as influential as anything on the late 70’s punk explosion that more conventionally gets credited to NY bands such as New York Dolls and Velvet Underground. It’s also well-documented that Morrison was a major influence on Jim Osterberg, so this ’67 homecoming show story is illuminating to that rock thread. I was at UM ‘73-‘77, a time when music in Ann Arbor was far less interesting (anyone remember local Sha Na Na knockoff Frankie & The Fireballs?). Bob Seger, who by then was finally on the cusp of fame beyond the Midwest, at Crisler was typical of rowdy arena rock shows of that era. At a show in 1976 (opening band was Foghat), I was with a large group in the first 2 rows. One of the guys in our group claims photos from that show were used for Seger’s “Live Bullet” LP, and insists that his outreached hand appears in the inside photo above the credits. The actual LP was recorded at two Cobo shows in September ’75, but perhaps he’s right about the photos…and the hand he had in a classic 70’s album.

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  • Glen Fillion - 1971

    Thanks for the details of the story about the Doors concert. I was just walking by the IM building telling my son, Dusty, about it while we caught up to the UM Band marching to the Big House to see the historic UM-Illinois game. I was close to the stage in that gymnasium, and I saw Jim Morrison farting into the microphone. We listened to the Doors constantly at Hayden Hall in East Quad, and we were disappointed at the performance. Didn’t see the later show, because most people left. Best shows during my time in Ann Arbor were the Band at Crisler, the Byrds at Hill twice, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen at the Ark, Gordon Lightfoot at Earth Day, and a few others.

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  • Tom Thomas

    Great story, but you got a couple of things wrong. Morrison was writhing around on the floor while the band vamped “Soul Kitchen” for a long time. Eventually, the crew cut portion of the crowd got impatient, and some boos and hisses became loud enough to reach Morrison’s ears. He may indeed have been pretty drunk, but he had no trouble leaping to his feet and challenging the crowd for their lack of hipness. He was clearly expecting an audience of freaks, and we were there, but probably in the minority, overall. This dialogue actually went on for a few minutes in a reasonably civil tone, but as Morrison got more and more worked up that such a hip place as Ann Arbor could have so many crew cut squares, somebody started throwing things at the stage. Morrison did throw them back, but he didn’t start it. He did, however become extremely enraged and start spewing numerous f-bombs. His last words were “Jump up my ass, motherf—!” and somebody cut power to the stage, rendering his microphone dead. At that point the band left the stage to a chorus of boos. They did return and play a very competent, if somewhat uninspired, second set. I also knew Iggy slightly, when he was the drummer for the Prime Movers – the best band in Ann Arbor at the time (there are actually clips of them on YouTube, somehow, but not very good ones). Iggy was a talented drummer, and a very good singer with that band, in spite of what he may have later become.

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  • mark sutter - 1966->1968

    I was there at the concert!! I have been telling the story to all for years with a lot of skepticism from my friends. It was indeed a bizarre display with Morrison ending up lying on the stage with no shirt and bare feet screaming into the air. The lights came on, the police arrived, and Morrison was led off stage right. The other band piped up to keep the crowd from tearing the place apart, but as the article stated, the Doors came back. When they came back, Morrison took the mike and said, ” we hear that you want some dance music”. They commenced to play Light my Fire in a polka rhythm while Morrison danced wildly across the stage.

    There were other great concerts those years, like The Beach Boys, at Hill Aud. They had a great concert and toward the end of the concert, they came to the mike and said they were going to try a new song for the first time “live” with some new instruments. That song was “Good Vibrations”. My girlfriend, Sue, and I had a great time that night!!

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  • Janice Levine Crocker - 1971

    I remember the Aretha Franklin concert, Buffy Ste Marie, and alas, I remember MISSING the Doors concert. Thanks after all this time, for calming my remorse at having missed it.
    I do remember the Long Island Sound, thanks for the memories!

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  • Sandra Corr (Secinaro) - 1983

    The best show I ever saw at UM was Bruce Springstein “The River” tour. I was so in love with him and believed that he was going to pick me out of the crowd and that we’d ride away on the backstreets into the sunset. I first fell in love with Bruce when my friend, Jim Farber, from New Jersey blasted “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” out onto the lawn of South Quad on a sunny weekend afternoon. Great memories:)

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  • John Hammerschlag - 1970

    I was an incredible Doors’ fan. At the fraternity house (Steve Welkom was one of the brothers) my roommate and I each had a copy of the Doors first album and we would put them both on the record changer, Side 1 and Side 2, and play them over and over again. We literally wore out the albums and had to replace them.

    I remember the concert vividly–a homecoming dance featuring the Doors. Seemed a little of place, but after all it was Ann Arbor. I was in the early stages of a relationship with a girlfriend who later broke my heart. Morrison was a mess. He tore off his clothes. He couldn’t stand up and eventually left the stage. I remember the return of the Long Island Sounds. The crowd gave them a tremendous reception. When they finished, the Doors’ returned and played one of the most incredible sets of music I have ever heard. I was mesmerized. My girlfriend was perplexed.

    Later in the fraternity house I remember discussing with Welkom how we were both totally awed by the performance.

    A number of years ago my wife and I were in Paris and visited the grave of Jim Morrison in Pere Lachaise. It brought back fond memories of that October night in 1967 when Jim Morrison and the Doors delivered a career performance to a few diehard fans who waited out his miscreant behavior.

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  • Edariz Castilla - 2003

    Great story. The best concert I attended was Wyclef Jean at Hill Auditorium. I was not a big fan but a classmate convinced me to go. Wyclef put on a show that was easily one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. Pretty much turned Hill into a House Party. By the end, the stage was full of students dancing along with him. Simply awesome.

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  • Phil Doolittle - 1967, 1975

    I was at that memorable concert (close to the stage) and agree with most of the article and the comments of the others who were there. My most vivid memories were:
    1. how great the Long Island Sound seemed in comparison (I knew the drummer slightly at the time)
    2. how surprising it was that Morrison did come back and actually perform a second show. It did seem someone had read him the riot act.
    3. how composed and in control Ray Manzarek seemed. He was obviously not happy about what was happening, but soldiered on with talent and grace. I became HIS fan.

    I too have told this tale to later generations, who just didn’t seem to comprehend. Big thanks for the article.

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  • Tom Erbach - 1970 BS, 1974 MD

    I was there. I remember all the commotion, and the ire raised by them not initially playing “Light My Fire”. It was memorable in having them play on Friday nite at a dance. I saw many quality concerts, the best being the Beach Boys who gave the intro to “Good Vibrations” as saying that they had been at MSU the nite before but had waited to play it first for us. What showmanship!

    My best memory of my college years was being on the 50 yard line when The Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 24-12 in 1968 after going to Columbus a month after the Doors “concert” to watch Woody go for 2 (50-14)

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  • Brian Maiville - '73 & '78

    I came to U of M the year after that concert, but heard the story. Pretty consistent with the Morrison persona. Other great concerts and musical events have to include the Free John Sinclair Rally. Really bad acoustics but a great assembly of performers. The Jazz and Blues Festivals were the best. Leon Thomas was singing with Pharoah Sanders. I think this was the ’72 festival. They did Love Supreme and The Creator has a Master Plan among others, but those songs were other worldly. I doubt that you could find a more influential group of musicians in any one event as those that performed in ’72. I missed the ’70 Blues Festival because I was at Goose Lake. Iggy was there along with 200,000 other people. After being heckled at some point, he yelled, “Some of you like us and some of you hate us. I want the people who like us to line up over here and the people who hate us to line up over there, and we’re going to have a big f-ing fight. I remember starting to pack up my stuff to get the heck out of there. The repercussions of his challenge were mind boggling. Thankfully not many people paid attention. As a personal favorite concert, I have to say Mountain at Hill Auditorium was one sonically memorable event. Somehow they managed to balance the sound at an incredibly high decibel level. Reduced hearing acuity; the souvenir you can carry with you forever.

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  • Martin Czasnojc

    Great article…kind of reminds me of the Replacement’s concert I saw in the 80′s at the Michigan Theater when Bob Stinson (guitarist) arrived late and drunk…flipped off the audience…mooned us and “sunned” us…and subsequently threw his guitar at the audience in a fit of drunken frustration. It broken into pieces thus becoming souvenirs for all. What a doofus. However, the highlight was prior to Bob Stinson’s late arrival, Paul Westerberg (band leader) invited musicians from the audience that were familiar with the band’s songs to take turns filling in for Bob. What a sight…seeing folks walk up on stage, grab a guitar and jam with Paul Westerberg and the Replacements. Memorable.

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  • Alan Kaplan - 1968

    I was a senior and sitting cross-legged on the floor of the IM building for the concert. Briefly, I always felt that the officials were going to stop the concert no matter what, just based on the Doors’ reputation. I don’t remember Jim Morrison being that ourageous. People were upset, but I don’t remember any chaos when the performance was stopped. At the other end of the IM building was Del Shannon who also performed that night. I don’t remember what Steve Welkoom did that night even though he was a frat brother of mine. What struck me the most was how few people were in the audience considering it was the Doors.
    Alan “Work” Kaplan

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  • Larry Gever - 1974

    I was fortunate to be an usher at the 1974 Bob Dylan “comeback” concert at Chrisler Arena. The neat thing about this, other than it being the return of the reclusive and great Bob Dylan after years of no live performancres, was that the promoter was the legendary Bill Graham (of Fillmore East and West fame). It was a treat to attend the ushers’ orientation meeting at Chrisler the day before where Graham gave specific directions as to the importance of protecting Dylan from bodily harm–he asked us to ring the stage prior to the final song and hold hands (as if that would have prevented wrongdoers from getting to him!). Nevertheless, it was a great concert…

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  • Candice Floyd - 1992

    While in grad school for French, lots of concerts and memories. One stand out was being involved with a French radio show and picking up francophone star Salif Keita and his manager from their hotel near the mall to take them to WCBN, for a radio interview with Mike and Suku, then we took this world-renowned Malian singer out to dinner before his concert (we had prime seats, of course). What a great opportunity, to rub elbows with world-class artists while at the U!

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  • Ellen Tyroler - 1954

    Can you believe this graduation date among all the others! Yes I know the songbook because of my children and students. Maybe I’m better off just having listened to the radio before satellite. Very interesting article!

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  • Christina Jamian - 1971

    My roommate and I went to see the Byrds at Hill Aud, a fantastic concert. I could swear I saw the Doors at Crisler…maybe 1969? Anyone else remember this? It might have been at Cobo ,not sure. Also, saw Janis Joplin at Crisler…she was quite drunk,the norm for her. My husband’s favorite concerts were always the Blues Festivals.

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  • michael frank - 1971,1975

    That concert was a vivid memory for me, and the description was perfect. A friend and I stood on the side of the stage to get off the dance floor (and now I can say I was on stage with Jim Morrison). I could not remember the second band. Neither my kids believe that it ever happened, and glad that you published it. They still wont believe I was there, but at least there is proof of the existence of this concert.

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  • Dennis Plautz - 1970

    I attended the event too. The Doors were so terrible that I forgot their performance long ago. My hat’s off to the Long Island Sound though. I remember after the Doors’ disasterous first set, Steve played the first three or four notes of a Doors’ song, perhaps Back Door Man,on his Mosrite guitar. The Sound saved the evening. The crowd begged Steve to continue but he stopped and played something different. I thought that perhaps there was something in their contract that stated they couldn’t play any Doors music that night.
    Band member and group bass player Gary Munce quoted in the story lived in the dorm on my floor my Freshman year in Hinsdale House East quad so I followed the band more closely than most because i knew him. They played many memorable dances and played at my Fraternity House (Theta Chi) at least once a semester. My favorate concerts were the Beach Boys and the Lovin’ Spoonful. Glad to hear Steve stayed with the music business.

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  • Cary Gordon - 1969

    I was a Doors fan, and was dumbstruck to see that UAC had booked them for a dance. I have always assumed that Jim Morrison’s performance was similarly inspired. I went on to produce shows with a Detroit production company, but that was the only time I saw the Doors with Morrison.

    There were some other I’ll-tempered performers, though. Janis Joplin followed James Cotton with an off-balance off-key set, and Aretha Franklin showed up for her show in a foul mood, played an uninspired 20 minutes and stormed off. The Righteous Brothers did a presumably great show at Hill Auditorium, but the sound was so bad that nobody could tell.

    On the other hand, their were some great shows, like Bob Dylan at Hill in 1964, and the Blues Festival that I had the honor of running for UAC and Canterbury House in 1969.

    Even the less than perfect shows proved to be memorable. For me, they were pivotal in setting my future course.

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  • Joseph Wu - LSA 1970

    I was at the dance, that night and indeed the Long Island Sound definitely save the evening. Also remember hearing them many more times at various parties on campus, they were always very good, whatever happened to the band?
    I just like to point out that with regards to the students’ reaction to Morrison’s antics, that was a very different time. It was still a very “conservative” time,but values were rapidly changing in 1967. Remember that in 1966, there were strict “visiting hours” for girls in boys dorms, the Michigan Union was “For Man Only”, and you were not consider an official “Michigan Coed”, untill you’ve been kissed under the East Engineering Arch at midnight on a week day?! Which meant for most undergrad coeds, they would have violated the crazy check in by 11:30PM during the weekdays rule! There were many other such silly traditions such as the Stone Lions in front of the Archeology museum roaring whenever a “Virgin” walked by. I wonder if Morrison’s onstage antics would elicit the same angry response from the student body now?

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  • John Nemerovski - 1970

    Thanks to Alan and EVERYONE for your amazing positive memories of our band’s performance that night. Steve played lead guitar, Gary played bass, I played electric piano and organ, Greg Hayward played rhythm guitar, and John Briegel played drums in The Long Island Sound. Steve and Greg were lead singers, with Gary and Nemo doing backup vocals.

    LONG ISLAND SOUND was formed at the beginning of fall semester in 1966. Steve and Greg knew one another from Cincinnati. Gary was in the dorm with Steve, and Steve met me in a different dorm when I was pounding away on the house piano. Not sure where we found JB, our drummer. I’ll ask Steve.

    Fall of 1967 was when we began to develop our original material. At that Homecoming concert we played a couple of our own tunes, but mostly we played the dance songs of the day that were popular at campus parties. Long Island Sound played once or twice every weekend then.

    When we arrived early that night to load our gear up the front steps into the IM Building, we wanted to meet The Doors. They were downstairs in a locker room. The sounds coming from downstairs were not inviting, so we figured we’d meet them later. It never happened.

    My parents and younger sister were at that concert. Mom’s memory is pretty good. I’ll try to get some quotes from her to post in a separate comment.

    Long Island Sound was on our bandstand facing The Doors during their ill-fated first set. We were stunned, and were caught completely off guard, expecting to hear and see a professional group at close range. When they tanked, we quickly resumed playing, to general acclaim. Everything happened so fast we didn’t waste any time going back to our instruments and blasting off. I vaguely recall Steve playing an opening riff from BACK DOOR MAN, a very popular current Doors song, but I can’t be certain. He has a good memory of that night, so I can ask him that too.

    Summer 1969 was when Steve, Gary, and I formed FLOATING OPERA with drummer Artie Alinikoff and organ player Carol Lees. We recorded an LP of original tunes that has been transferred to CD and can be purchased from WoundedBird.com. We don’t receive any payments from CD sales.

    There are several Internet articles and discussions about Floating Opera. You can learn more by doing a web search with the words: floating opera welkom.

    Long Island Sound recorded an unreleased album of material titled CELESTIAL OMNIBUS. I will try to locate a copy of that tape.

    Contact me if you need additional info about Long Island Sound or Floating Opera. I can be reached here (fill in the missing symbols): john [dot] nemo [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  • Glenn Spencer - 1971

    I attended a lot of concerts in the late 60′s and early 70′s both as a roadie and as an audience partipant. I don’t remember the exact date, but the Ann Arbor concert that stands out in my mind to this date was a Dave Brubeck concert with Madcat Ruth accompanying the group at the Hill. It seemed like a strange combination before the concert, but a good friend bought the tickets, and I felt obliged to go. Apparently Madcat somehow was a friend of the Brubeck family which I did not know at the time. The blend of Madcat’s harmonica with the jazz sound of the Brubeck band was like nothing I have ever heard before or since. One of those incredible, incredible concerts that was just a point in time and that cannot be explained. Hopefully we have all had the privilege of attending one of those.

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  • Kathy Lavelle Neuser - 1970

    Fantastic memories. I was on stage that night when the Doors came on with a group of 6 other coeds who had been selcted to be background dancers for the night. We were given the title Poppy Girls and wore amazingly short paper (that’s correct,,,paper!) dresses with high boots. Earlier that day we rode on one of the Homecoming floats thru town for the parade. I recall Jim exposing himself, or trying to, and we ended up walking off the stage. This has been one of those stories that I have also shared over the years with family and friends and yes I think not all believed in the veracity of the tale. Thanks for bringing it back to life. What a fabulous time to have attended Michigan! And what did happen to the Long Island Sound? They always put on a great show.

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  • Tom B

    I did not know that Iggy Pop was an Ann Arbor kid and a UM drop out. I also did not know there was an \”Ann Arobor High\” (school). Was it Huron or Pioneer.

    Regarding the Doors, Jim Morrison was a hopeless addict who took advantage of fame only to destroy himself on a great stage.

    I\’m not sure how Morrison came out of his stupor to perform a good set with the band, but I\’m sure it was a sight to see.

    The Doors put out a lot of great music in a very short period of time. It\’s too bad that there was no way anyone could get to Jim Morrison before it was too late.

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  • Amir Borna - 2004, 2011

    Poor Jim Morrison who had to play for such a narrowed minded crowd; even his band mates did not come close to match him intellectually and spiritually. In such circumstances the only think you can do is to numb your senses, and over the years he had become good at that. If you’re going to the doors concert, you should expect the unexpected, not complain like a snub. The drunken performance must have been profound enough to create “Iggy Pop”. Of course it wasn’t meant to be for the dumb football players and the empty cheer leaders. We need another 1000 years to gather a good crowd for Jim Morrison’s concert.

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  • James Williams - 1973

    Favorite concert was Sha Na Na at Crisler

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  • Peter Bedrick - 1969

    I was there that night and luckily stayed until the very end. I remember leaving with my date and running into John Sinclair (noted Detroit Hippie guru) and talking with him about the concert as he and his entourage had not been able to get in. He was very disappointed, especially after hearing the gory details. I remember being disappointed with “Light My Fire” as the band was obviously tired of playing it…but Jim kissing a bandmate during “When You’re Strange” was worth the wait! I do remember many dates being very upset and leaving in tears. So much fun to read what everyone remembers….and maybe now my kids will believe me!
    Are there any Homecoming Committee members who remember what The Doors were paid? I heard $4,000 plus airfare and other expenses.

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  • Beth Levin - 1971

    Was there…remember it very well. Even though it wasn’t the best concert, I do think it is pretty amazing to be able to tell people you saw the Doors performing in a gym, before they got really big.

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  • George Baumgartner - 69

    1965-1966 IM building… Four Tops, bright orange suits, Cazzie Russel. Motown. Came out into the audience and formed a train with the audience while singing. Best night of my life at Michigan!

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  • Mike Tuohey - 1975

    My recollections provide a few details of what occurred that night. The Doors played a flawless extended intro to Soul Kitchen while the crowd stood around waiting for Morrison to appear. Appear he did, as I recall, on top of one of the speakers stage left, the microphone jammed in his mouth while he drunkenly screamed the lyrics. He continued the garbled screaming into the mic while the audience watched him stagger about the stage. Quite a number of the audience sat down to watch and Morrison started screaming that it was a dance and everyone should start dancing … which brought a number of us to our feet and some in the crowd started booing and some crumbled up paper was thrown and bounced off Morrison at which point he drunkenly reached over to retrieve it, flung it back at the audience and started throwing the F-bombs which caused many in the audience to become angry and reply in kind. Manzarek came up behind Morrison and spread his arms out high above his head and was asking the crowd to take it easy … that something strange might happen … but the crowd was pretty pissed at this point and sombody pulled the power plug to their equipment. It was pretty chaotic until the local band came back on amid cheers and the crowd yelling for them to play Light my Fire … which they declined to perform. I remember thinking it was probably just as well. I wasn’t around for the Doors return, I was surprised to hear they did. It was definitely a memorable evening.

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  • Kurt Bemiller - 1968

    I was there with some friends. We were as stoned on weed as Morrison was on booze. To me it was amazing how Jim could even stand up; when they did sing he parroted the words to the songs with what seemed like scorn.

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  • Judy (Greenberg) Kleinberg - 1968

    I was co-chair of Winter Weekend in \’66 (does UM still have one?) when we featured the Beach Boys at Hill Aud. I had the great job of being back stage with them before they played, got to talk with them all and then introduce them. Mike Love was the most friendly and wanted to find out all about the university – a charming guy. That was really a thrill for me. And before that, I was co-chair of Homecoming and we had Johnny Rivers as our headliner. I fixed him up with my best friend from home who was visiting and together with my date, we spent hours talking after his concert. He was smart, talented and a nice guy. Michigan always had the best performers come to A2! What memories!!

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  • Sue Southon - 1968 LS&A 1970 SW

    I was on the Central Committee for that Homecoming weekend and remember every moment of that dreadful concert. One of my colleagues had to chase Morrison down State Street when they got out of their car after arriving on campus. We should have realized then that we were in for trouble!

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  • Nan Hunter - 1971

    I was there! I was amazed by all the swearing, I remember. And I have an old album by the Long Island Sound! Think it’s worth anything??!!
    Unfortunately, we left and did not hear The Doors..sober. Still adore their music.

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  • Sue Southon

    I was on the Central Committee for that Homecoming weekend and remember every moment of that dreadful concert. One of my colleagues had to chase Morrison down State Street when they got out of their car after arriving on campus. We should have realized then that we were in for trouble!

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  • Michele (Goldstein) Missner - 1966 B.A., 1968 MLS

    My boyfriend at the time and I attended the Buffy Saint Marie concert. I was in love with him, but because of religious differences, I did not think I could marry him. When I heard “Until its time for you to go”, I knew that was my song. It is what happened and so it remains until this day.

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  • M K - 196?

    I was there.
    It was the first nail in the coffin of RocknRoll for me.
    I don\’t remember staying for the 2nd set even though I was a huge Doors fan.
    The concert I remember best wasLaura Nyro solo in the huge Bball arena

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  • Kathy Brown - 1970

    Steve Welkom appears to have a deep and abiding love for entertainment and music, and for star performers, but he is too modest about his own accomplishments. Perhaps one day Steve will retrieve a videotape of the full-scale, professional musical production (on the order of “Fiddler On the Roof” and other productions of that era) that he organized, directed and performed in, which starred Marcia Hewen and many other U. of M. students. It was set in part in the 1890s or so, and I believe it won an award or two. It would be wonderful to have him put it on YouTube so that those who performed in it could see it and show their families the wholesome, sober things they did while they were in college.

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  • steve bober - 1968

    I was there, up front and center. Morrison whipped his mic cord at me because I was yelling at him to get down with the tunes. I took some fine pics of him, unpublished to date, because I stuck around to the end of the excellent set. Iggy was part of my apartment scene, as “the Professor” Ron Richardson and I were roommates, and he was managing the Psychedelic Stooges (and Scott Richard). I was at the Ann Arbor Armory for the Stooges inaugural and took some classic pics (copyrighted) (see this month’s Mojo); The SRC was also on board, the same, or a different night, but no pics of that one. Wouldn’t have missed this era for the world!

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  • Carrie Klein - N/A

    I was there that night. And glad to read this after all these years, to confirm what I remember. I got there early and somehow ended up sitting on the stairs of the stage waiting for the Doors to come out. When they did I had to move my legs a bit so they could walk up to the stage. Jim, in all his black leather, stumbled up the stairs and fell over me totally drunk, before picking himself up and getting to the mic. I remember thinking how was he ever going to sing or put on a show of any kind. After a few drunken tries, and falls and screams into the mic, all lights and sound were shut down and they put lights up on another stage across the room. I was so disappointed but not surprised. Left shortly after. Saw the Doors again though in London and they put on a great show, along with The Jefferson Airplane.

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  • Larry Parrott - 1968

    I was on Homecoming Central Committee and was therefore partially responsible for the event. I remember The Doors launching into these interminable jams, and Jim screamed, “Dance you motherfuckers! What do you want, the top forty?” Then, I remember his final appearance on stage. He pulled down his black leather pants and attempted to moon the crowd. He was wearing slightly yellowed whitey tighties.

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