On March 1, 1969, at the Dinner Key Auditorium in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, The Doors gave the most controversial performance of their career, one that nearly "derailed the band". Morrison had recently attended a play by an experimental theater group, The Living Theatre, and was inspired by their "antagonistic" style of performance art. The auditorium was a converted seaplane hangar that had no air conditioning on that hot night, and the seats had been removed by the promoter in order to boost ticket sales. Morrison had been drinking all day and had missed connecting flights to Miami, and by the time he eventually arrived the concert was over an hour late in starting, and he was, according to Manzarek, "overly fortified with alcohol".
The restless crowd of 12,000, packed into a facility designed to hold 7,000, was subjected to Morrison's lack of interest in singing shortly into "Break On Through". Morrison taunted the crowd with messages of both love and hate, saying, "Love me. I can't take it no more without no good love. I want some lovin'. Ain't nobody gonna love my ass?" and alternately, "You're all a bunch of fuckin' idiots!" and screaming "What are you gonna do about it?" over and over again. At one point, Morrison removed and threw the hat of a police officer who was onstage into the crowd and the officer removed Jim's hat and threw it.
Manager Bill Siddons recalled, "The gig was a bizarre, circus-like thing, there was this guy carrying a sheep and the wildest people that I'd ever seen". Equipment chief Vince Treanor said, "Somebody jumped up and poured champagne on Jim so he took his shirt off, he was soaking wet. 'Let's see a little skin, let's get naked,' he said, and the audience started taking their clothes off."Having removed his shirt, Morrison held it in front of his groin area and started to make hand movements behind it. Manzarek later described the incident as a mass "religious hallucination".