Published in Rolling Stone
PHOENIX, ARIZ.—The Doors will never play the Arizona State Fair again. And a relatively small riot (for the Doors) has been blown up into a bad publicity campaign that has already cost them a TV special date.
The Doors were booked into the Veterans War Memorial Coliseum in Goldwater-land for one night last November 7th. According to Doors manager Bill Siddons their hour-long set was not very together in the first place, and was troubled with equipment failure. In order to stimulate the unmoved crowd, Morrison at one point shouted: “This might be our last time in Phoenix. Why are you just sitting? Why isn’t anything happening?” Or something like that.
Relationships between police and young people in Phoenix have suffered some strain in recent months with the growth of a hippie culture and the usual attendant hassling, but according to Bill Siddons, “The police neither showed extreme violence toward the audience, nor were inefficient in protecting the performers, as the Phoenix police have been in the past, with Hendrix for instance. By our standards this ‘riot’ was a party, it didn’t even inspire conversation the next morning.”
The Doors went on at about 10:00 PM before an audience of 8000. Their playing was so uninspired that they had one conference, during an equipment breakdown, to discuss what to do. Morrison’s attempt to enliven the audience was however, a spur-of-the-moment expostulation.
About 500 teenagers changed the stage at this point and were repulsed by the police. Seven young people were reportedly booked under failure to disperse, police assault and obscene language regulations. The Coliseum director announced that the Doors had played their last gig at this hall.
The story continued when Variety, the show business weekly, published a report of the affair by a reporter apparently accustomed to the usual entertainment at State Fairs than to Jim Morrison. He was particularly incensed by Morrison’s use of the word “shit” (not the worst word Morrison has been known to use on stage) in connection with President-Elect Nixon: “We are not going to stand for four more years of shit.”
Variety’s story is loaded with journalistic bullshit like, “One mature observer noted ‘…the fair permits children to listen to this garbage.’ “ Bill Siddons reports that advertisers have swayed by the story and a proposed Doors TV special has been dropped in consequence.
The notoriety attending this concert, quite underserved, and other incidents such as Jim Morrison’s arrest in New Haven a year ago for obscenity have caused bad relations with the entertainment industry. Some Promoters will not now handle the Doors and commercial sponsorships seems to be suffering.