My Brush with The Doors

October 13, 1967. Sixteen at the time, growing up in Baltimore, a month into the 11th grade. Neil, a school buddy, worked as an usher in the Lyric Theatre downtown, and he arranged to reserve tickets for my pal Paul and me: Front row, center seats.

Front of the playbill plus the tickets.

The city was then more tuned in to Motown and not the Doors, so we figured the crowd would be relatively light. But I forgot that that Friday night was Yom Kippur. It turned out there were maybe 15–20 people scattered about in the audience.

Tim Rose was the opening act. Alone with his guitar, he sang “Hey Joe.” I muttered to Paul that Dino Valenti had written that song (learning decades later that it was actually Billy Roberts). Tim then instructed us that _he_ had written it, and that was that.

Then The Doors came on stage. I can’t imagine they were all that thrilled performing in front of so few people, but they went ahead with their full set. There was a moment when, during a brief lull between songs, Paul and I were whispering to each other, and Jim Morrison suddenly shouted into his mic, “WAKE UP!!” while leering at us. His way of introducing their closing marathon number, “The End.”

The show was over. I have no memory how this happened, but I do remember tagging along and chatting with Ray Manzarek outside the theater as he and the rest of the band walked toward their car, which was parked in an alley a block or so away. Robby Krieger was the only one carrying his instrument; I assume their roadie was taking care of the rest of the equipment in a van parked besides their car.

Keep in mind that there were no other fans around; it was just the five of us.

I asked them all to sign the back of the playbill, and they did, writing their first names only. Not at all the persona he had displayed on stage, Jim was civil and gracious as he added his signature. I remember he even said “Thank you.”

They all then got into their car, Jim in the driver’s seat, and off they went.

I haven’t a clue why I chopped off a quarter of the playbill. I did write down the songs as they performed them, also seen on the back.

Back of the playbill with autographs and songlist.