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How a 1970 Boston Show Ended With Jim Morrison Being Dragged Offstage

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By the spring of 1970, Doors frontman Jim Morrison had already been through plenty of scrapes with the law, and the band had developed a reputation for a sometimes dangerously unpredictable live act. For some groups, that might have been sufficient incentive to stay on their best behavior, but as they proved when they took the stage in Boston on April 10, the Doors were never very good at following rules.

According to the Doors Guide, Morrison had “been drinking all day” by the time the band took the stage at the Boston Arena. At first, his inebriated state didn’t have much of an adverse effect; he goofed around with the audience during and between songs, reflecting the group’s pleasantly loose overall performance. The second set — which didn’t start until after midnight — was another matter entirely.

The band was known for delivering long sets, which was great for the kids in the crowd, but a source of anxiety for the Arena’s manager, who had to keep an eye on the city’s 2AM curfew. Shortly before the hour, he decided to cut power to the stage — everywhere except Morrison’s microphone, which was powered by a separate P.A. Realizing he had a live mic, Morrison quickly used it to unleash some choice profanity.

Recognizing that no good could come from this, keyboardist Ray Manzarek grabbed Morrison and hauled him offstage, only to lose his grip once the two reached the wings. Running back to the mic, Morrison told the crowd “We all should get together and have some fun, because the a–holes are gonna win if we let them,” then offered to lead the fun by asking the audience if they wanted to see his genitals.

But this wasn’t the end of the show. As the Examiner noted, “Somehow the promoter decided it was best to let the Doors perform one more song. The band came out with Manzarek on guitar and Robby Krieger on bass and did an early rendition of “Been Down So Long,” which would appear on the L.A. Woman album the following year.”

The whole thing was captured for posterity as it unraveled, and bits and pieces of the show arrived in stores as part of the Doors’ Absolutely Live set in the summer of 1970; the uncut sets were finally released in 2007 as Live in Boston. But knowing they had it on tape may not have come as much of a consolation to the band members the following day, when they found out the promoter for their next show, scheduled for April 11 in Salt Lake City, was in the audience in Boston and decided to cancel the Salt Lake gig.

The Doors’ increasingly hostile relationship with the Arena Managers Association, while definitely bad for their bottom line, was just a small part of the problems facing the band. Far more troublesome was Morrison’s growing instability, which continued to dog their tour stops and ultimately marred what ended up being his final concert with the group in December 1970. He passed away the next summer.

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