There are a lot of Doors shows from later in their career that illustrate how good and wide-ranging The Doors could be. But there are few recorded shows that capture The Doors at the height of their early powers. One show that does is called “The Rock Scene: Like it Is,” and it illustrates what a truly electrifying and even scary band they could be.
“The Rock Scene” was filmed in Toronto on September 14, 1967 at the studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The CBC stage is a very stark setting for The Doors, with just the band on a small stage and the audience. The Doors played only one song, “The End.” It starts with Jim Morrison’s invocation to “wake up,” and the subsequent performance shows the band at the height of their live abilities; they’re a tight group that act as one, and Morrison literally looks as if a current of electricity is running through him. The usual Oedipal section of the song was edited out by the producers of the show.
The Doors’ performance is spellbinding, and in watching the video you can’t take your eyes off the band or Morrison. This is much the same reaction the audience had, and for the most part the crowd stands and watches. Some dance, but many couldn’t peel their eyes away.
The video of this Toronto performance was included on the “Soundstage Performances” DVD and it is enhanced by the inclusion of the surviving Doors’ recollections. The most striking is that Robby Krieger remembers the band being met at the airport by the Toronto chapter of the Hell’s Angels, and the Angels escorted the band to the Toronto Peace Festival that was then in progress. (Note for 2017: This material is also included on the “Feast of Friends” DVD.)
The show aired on October 16, 1967, by which time The Doors were performing at Steve Paul’s The Scene.
Originally published September 14, 2012.