FOUR DOORS TO THE FUTURE: GOTHIC ROCK IS THEIR THING
“Which one is “Jim Morrison?” one girl said to another. But he was not on stage, and a drummer and an organist and a guitar player looked impatiently toward a curtain door.
They sat in darkness punctuated by the steady red lights of amplifiers as tall as a man and the glow of a hundred cigarettes dancing in the evening breeze. The curtain on the door hung like velvet one inch thick.
Two hands pierced the slits of the curtain and drew it back sharply as a spotlight racked the stage and exposed a man who squinted in the brightness. There was applause that he did not care to hear, and the spotlight caught the contempt in the faces of the other musicians as Jim Morrison tentatively fingered the microphone.
He screamed and reeled, throttling the microphone and gazing at a sea of blank faces. He shouted a strung out, distorted and violent stream of word images which twisted the faces into expressions of shock yet fascination.
Then there were the drums, crashing against the pulsating rush of the organ while the guitar pirouetted around and through the rhythmic contest with a new sort of terrifying insistence. The Doors were opening as Morrison’s words found their way through the cicuitous maze of a thousand wires in the impassive, deafening amplifiers.
He sang, or rather groaned, or talked to himself out loud as the group races through “Break on Through” to lead off the set. The band and their instruments work together in complete interaction crystallizing the night air with a texture of sound which a person can run his hand over.
But Morrison gets all the attention, with black curls cascading over the upturned collar of a leather jacket worn the way leather jackets should be; tight, tough, and somehow menacing. Some people have said that Morrison is beautiful, and others have learned the meaning of the word charisma by watching him.
And then there is “Light My Fire,” and Morrison’s brass and leather voice strokes the lyrics with all the subtlety in which he handles the microphone. The song deserves to be done the Doors’ way, with suggestive intonations and instrumentation striving together to produce the incredible erotic pressure of the driving organ-scream climax.
After all, sex is what hard rock is all about. But there is terror in the sexuality of “The End,” Morrison’s black masterpiece of narrative poetry about a physical and spiritual odyssey which finishes in patricide and incest.
Morrison is at his best in the song, doing his own thing while the organist bends low and presses hard on the keys and the guitarist walks unconcernedly in and out of the spotlight. The drummer sweats.
Morrison dislodged the microphone and staggered blindly across the stage as the lyrics and screams which are “The End” poured out of his mouth, malevolent, satanic, electric and on fire. He stumbled and fell in front of a towering amplifier and sobbed to himself. The guitarist nudged him with the neck of his guitar, and a mouth in the audience said knowingly, “He’s stoned.”
But he wasn’t. He sat up on his knees and stretched his arms in an attitude of worship toward the cold amplifier, the impartial mediator between the virtues and absurdity of a music dependent upon circuits and ohms.
The audience did non know whether to applaud or not. The guitarist nudged the electric cord which makes his instrument play, the organist. ]