So the state of Florida has pardoned Doors frontman Jim Morrison. That may be a good thing for artistic freedom and all, but I still want my money back.
I was a kid living in Westchester when my friend's parents took the neighborhood gang to see our favorite band at Dinner Key Auditorium on March 1, 1969. We had memorized, scrutinized, and analyzed the lyrics to "The End" and "When the Music's Over," conjecturing about where the "blue bus" went and what might have happened in that "Roman wilderness of pain." We could even strum "Light My Fire" on our guitars.
So it was hard to believe we were standing right there near the side of the stage waiting for our artistic heroes to rock out. There are varying accounts of the evening and whether Morrison pulled little Jimmy out to wave to the crowd. All I remember is the band playing an interminable intro — was it "Break on Through" or "When the Music's Over"? — as the crowd grew restless waiting for the singer.
Morrison stepped, or rather staggered, onto the stage like a good shepherd with a white lamb in his arms and a half-finished whiskey bottle in his hand. He put the bottle on the amp, held onto the lamb, and grabbed the microphone. Finally, a song! But instead, all he did was rant against the system and how "the man" was oppressing us. Then there was something about screwing our teachers, and rebelling against our parents (two of whom had driven us in their station wagon and were watching from the back of the auditorium).
Hey, what happened to the song? we wondered. Then, as the band broke into another endless riff, Morrison did something we couldn't see, and suddenly "the man" appeared in blue uniforms and whisked him off. I remember the amps swaying as the crowd rushed the stage and the band split. Last thing we saw was Morrison standing on the balcony shirtless in his black leather pants with his white lamb and a couple of chicks.
It was the worst concert we ever saw. The Echo doing Doors covers at Columbus High School dances was better. So if Charlie Crist — or Rick Scott — is listening, it's all good to pardon a dead man, and Morrison's Hotel ended up being one hell of an album. But something has to be done to refund the money we cobbled together mowing lawns and squirreling away our allowances. Crist, we want our money back!
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