The story about The Doors and Jim Morrison’s infamous 1969 performance at the Dinner Key Auditorium has been shrouded in mystery for a long time.
The event was marked by high temperatures, alleged inappropriate behavior, and strange hallucinations, making it one of the band’s most disastrous shows. The aftermath of the incident saw Jim Morrison facing charges of exposure, a situation that the media eagerly seized upon, casting a shadow over the counterculture icon until his passing.
Morrison’s erratic actions seemed to be driven by the media’s fascination with him. He appeared to indulge in behaviors that matched their sensationalized portrayal of him, almost sabotaging himself.
Before the ill-fated gig, Morrison had consumed a significant amount of alcohol, causing him to miss his flight to Miami and delaying the show by an hour. The venue, designed for 7,000 people, was packed with 12,000 eager fans. However, the air conditioning was malfunctioning, and the crowd was becoming increasingly frustrated.
This was an early sign of the challenges that lay ahead.
During his performance, Morrison displayed a disdainful attitude towards the crowd, even referring to them as “idiots.” He surprised everyone by inviting the audience to join him on stage, a move that led to police intervention.
The ensuing events have sparked debates: some claim Morrison undressed and exposed himself to the crowd, while others, including the band, dismissed these allegations. Ray Manzarek, a member of The Doors, proposed an alternative theory, suggesting that the intense heat caused a “religious hallucination” among the thousands in attendance.
Manzarek’s comparison of the incident to visions of Lourdes and Dionysus did not hold up well, and after a lengthy trial, Morrison was found guilty. In an act of defiance, he rejected a plea bargain and chose to appeal the charge as the band continued working on their album “L.A. Woman.”
Amid legal concerns, Morrison traveled to Paris, where he was discovered dead in his bathtub in July 1971. Even in death, Morrison’s fate took a turn. In 2010, he received a posthumous pardon for the conviction he had vehemently vowed to contest before his untimely demise.
Morrison’s partner, Patricia Kennealy Morrison, had differing views on the pardon. She expressed her strong opposition, asserting that Morrison had done “nothing to be pardoned for.” Although the Florida Board of Executives voted unanimously to grant the posthumous pardon, Patricia Kennealy Morrison believed that his record should have been completely cleared.
Morrison’s late partner, Patricia Kennealy Morrison, was completely against the pardon as she stated he did “nothing to be pardoned for”. Although the unanimous vote by the Florida Board of Executives to posthumously pardon Jim might have been a cause for celebration for some, she said his record should have been expunged instead.
“Since the original charges and trial were a publicity stunt, to begin with, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the pardon should follow in those footsteps,” she said. (Source)
Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who proposed the pardon, defended the decision by emphasizing the importance of correcting a perceived injustice. He believed that it was an opportunity to set things right, considering the lasting legacy of an individual, even if that legacy was based on events that never truly occurred.