Smash cut to the Whiskey-A-Go-Go.The headlines of our initial engagement week? THEM!,Yes my friends,Van Morrison and Them!.Our favourite singer and perhaps our favourite band.'Gloria' and 'Mystic Eyes' and John Lee Hooker's 'Boom Boom'.What great songs, what a great band.And what a wild-man lead singer.Van was a possessed Celt.He was all over the stage.Manic.Arms continually raised in a hallelujah salute to the energy.A ball of black Irish plasma reconstituted as the lead singer of a wandering band of minstrals that had set down beside us on the Sunset Strip of Los Angeles, California.Jim was transfixed by Van.He studied his every move.He put the eye on him and he absorbed.Van Morrison was-and-is the best of the white blues men.No one has that soul,that torment, that anguish.And he displayed it all at the Whiskey....and we watched,mezmerized.All of us.I especially loved the way Van would grab the mic stand,thrust it in the air,turn it on its head with the base pointing up to heaven and continue wailing into the Shure 47, "She got one, two,brown eyes...Hypnotise!".Goddamn, he was good.
And could he drink.I wish Jim hadn't seen that part of it.What with Felix imparting the drunken secrets of the race and Van the Celtic Christian blues man idol of Jim's downing copious drafts... well,Jim didn't stand a chance.He became enamoured of alcohol.
We all became friends,and the last night of our too-brief weeks engagement with the Irish crazies saw us all in a monster jam session.The Doors and Them on stage at the same time! and singing 'Gloria' !, what a fucking night.The Morrisons were amazing.There was more power coming off the stage than had ever been generated at the corner of Sunset and San Vincente.We were rocking and i was at stage left,at the Vox.I'll never forget the picture i saw to my right of Van at the mic and Jim with a hand held mic sitting atop a large amplifier,his head above and slightly behind Van's, both of them bathed in a golden light.And they were gone !.They were both in another time and another place.They were in the music and they were wailing.We were all wailing!.It was 1966 and we were young and alive and rocking.The future was ours.
Taken from 'Light My Fire,My Life With The Doors'by Ray Manzarek.