PHILADELPHIA ARENA - 09/19/1969

PHILADELPHIA, PA - U.S.A.



Venue Address: 46th & Market St. - Philadelphia, PA 
Promotion: Fred Samango Presents
Event: In Concert

Also Performing:
Jim & Dale

Setlist:
 
Early Show
Back Door Man
Break On Through
When The Music's Over
Maggie M'Gill
The Soft Parade
Light My Fire
(Incomplete)
Late Show
Back Door Man
When The Music's Over
Light My Fire
Roadhouse Blues
(Incomplete)

Recordings / Film:
Unavailable

Photographers:
Susan Hyman (Hotel)
Unidentified (Amateur)

Reviews / Info:
-A license for this performance is granted on Aug. 22nd and revoked a week later.
-On the morning of Sept. 19th the performance license is returned to promoter Fred Samango.
-Prior to Sept. 19th, the public creates demand for a second show after The Doors are only scheduled to perform for one.
-7:00pm & 10:00pm scheduled start times.
-Approx. 3,500 in attendance during the early show.
-The Doors take the stage at approx. 8:30pm for the early show.
-Jim Morrison gives a restrained performance due to the Miami incident.
-The Doors perform an early version of 'Maggie M'Gill' during the early show.
-The Doors perform an early version of 'Roadhouse Blues' during the late show.


"I attended The Doors concert in 1969 at The Arena in Philadelphia. This was my first time and only time I saw them. I know when we arrived on the EL at 46th St. Station it was twilight. It was a bad area of the city then now much worse. If there were two shows we would have been at the first. We did wait in the lobby for a long time packed like sardines. They were late opening the doors to the next lobby and the turnstiles/ ticket gate. The Arena had a set stage with floor seats in front and a tier on each side behind a metal railing. I was 17 and my friend was 16. We had taken the P&W to 69th street and from there the EL which stopped right above The Arena. There were 2 gates that lead down to the inside from the lobby that we all squeezed through. Our seats were on the left of the stage.

Steve, the friend I went with, now in Tampa, was the one that got the tickets for his 16th birthday (Sept 1st). I sat in the same area as Ida Miller, left of the stage up off the floor. As soon as they started playing people got up and went to the front of the stage. We did the same - over the railing we went. There were too many for the police to push back then. We were to left of the middle of the stage. I guess 5 people back. We were unbelievably close. Jim was smoking a cigar or cigarillo that he put out on the stage at sometime between songs. A girl at the center of the stage, with help, got up on the stage to get the butt. Frank Rizzo was Police Commissioner and he ruled the city even then. The cops immediately got the girl and tossed her down on top of the crowd. Her boyfriend was shouting and others were angry because of the callus treatment to the girl and the people she landed on. There was an uproar in the crowd and the front of the stage was lined with cops. Jim said something to us on the microphone like peace out. The crowd listened or the cops would have made The Doors leave. This was a fantastic place to be able to see them because the venue capacity was just about 5,000. The band was late starting. It might have been the police holding things up.

Jim did not, as seen in the photos, have on his leather pants. Jim looked pale and his hair was not curly and loose. He seemed burdened, down, even oppressed. His mystique and sensuality seemed missing that night. I guess the best analogy would be his wings were clipped and he couldn't fly. At the time I didn't care because I was there within 7 feet of the stage. I was 17 I loved The Doors and I was infatuated by Jim Morrison.

They did do at least one cover song I did not know and couldn't tell you what it was even then. Philly fans are hardcore. There were murmurings in the crowd because this is not what they/we wanted to hear. The crowd for being so packed and shoved together was good except for the incident with the cigar/cigarillo I mentioned before. Everyone was just 'grooving' to the music. The cops could have caused a riot with their actions. People were angry and shouting at the cops. Jim is the one that kept it together. When the concert was over the cops rushed us out. It might have been for the next concert. I always assumed it was because they didn't want any trouble. Control the crowd. Ray was enthusiastic as always. The Doors music undeniably excellent. Jim? Well he was Jim Morrison!

About 5 years ago my sister gave me a charcoal portrait of Jim she got at an auction. It is hanging to my right in my computer room. My youngest son was born on December 8th sharing the same birthday as Jim. I was fortunate to be one of the fans that got to see them. This was my second concert. My first was another timeless group. In 1964 at Convention Hall In Philly I saw The Beatles... that is another story.

The Arena is gone now. There are very few pictures available. My first time was 1956 with my grandmother to see Gene Autry and his horse Pal. Yes, his horse was brought on stage."

Carol Majewski
Hatboro, PA
Copyright © 2012 Carol Majewski

A Special Thanks to Carol Majewski for providing her review of the concert to MildEquator.com!



"I saw The Doors at The Arena which was at 46th and Market in Philly toward the end of 1969. The Arena was a pretty small venue, and The Doors were selling out places like this very easily when I saw them. I did not attend the first show.

The band came out and played for about ten minutes or so without Morrison, and during the middle of 'Back Door Man', he made his appearance. As soon as he got on the stage, the entire place reacted like a huge electric shock had ran through them all. It's hard to desribe how tight and polished they were. There were a lot of really good bands around that I was lucky enough to see in small venues, including the Cream, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Vanilla Fudge, but The Doors were, by far, the very best. Manzarek held the band together he was like a complete rythym section by himself, Kreiger was, at that time, one of the best guitarists in the world, and Densmore, layed down the 4/4 as good as anyone, and could lay a backbeat in as well as Ringo or any other drummer from those times. They played a few covers, and a lot of their first album. 'Light My Fire' was maybe a half hour, and 'When The Music's Over' was what seemed like an hour of pulse pounding, loud, ecstasy. The set was maybe two hours and they came out and just jammed for the encore. It was about ten minutes of what sounded like an early version of 'Roadhouse Blues'. Morrison was sober, and the show was incredible!"

J. Kalli
Philadelphia, PA
Copyright © 2010 J. Kalli

A Special Thanks to J. Kalli for providing his review of the concert to MildEquator.com!



"My sister in Philadelphia grudgingly agreed to obtain me tickets for this show at a place called Toppi's Sports Arena. However, she refused to buy me only one ticket and insisted on a pair, to ensure that I didn't drive to that section of Philadelphia alone. This 7,000 capacity sports venue meant going into a rougher area of Philly. The tickets were deep red in color, and showed a $6.50 price (See Below)

Our seats were pretty close to the stage but on the side, up off the floor. I remember that as soon as the band hit the stage, we were up and over the barrier between our section and the floor to get in front of the stage. Joanie and I managed to be just a few bodies back from the edge, packed like sardines and jostling for position. I was positioned just left of center toward Ray's side of the stage.

This was the closest I had been yet, and I enjoyed that show tremendously. In hindsight I realized that this was the most dis-spirited of all the shows I was to see.

Jim's physical look had changed dramatically for this post-Miami show. No leather pants: his pants were light colored pin-stripes. He also behaved differently than at the Asbury Park show, just 12-1/2 months earlier, more subdued, like his heart wasn't really in it. However, at that time the thrill of being so very close to the stage outweighed any consideration of the band's mood that night, six months after the Miami incident. I didn't have a good understanding of the impact that Miami had on the band.

'The Doors On The Road' book indicates that there were two shows that night. I don't remember this, but it must be true. I do remember getting home very, very late so I assume we were at the late show. That section of my ticket stub was torn off so I'll never know for certain."

Ida Miller
Los Angeles, CA
Copyright © 2011 Ida Miller

A Special Thanks to Ida Miller of IdaFan.com for providing her memories of the concert to MildEquator.com!

ARCHIVE/MEMORABILIA:



REVIEW #1:

Newspaper: Unknown
Author: Erica Meyer
Publish Date: Unknown - 1969
Copyright © Unknown
Philadelphia Sports Arena 1969 - Review Contributed By: RFritts

REVIEW #2:

Newspaper: The Evening Bulletin
Author: John Lombardi
Publish Date: September 20th - 1969
Copyright © The Evening Bulletin
Philadelphia Sports Arena Scan By: MildEquator.com

PRINT AD:

Philadelphia Sports Arena - Ticket
Scan By: MildEquator.com

TICKET:

Philadelphia Sports Arena - Ticket
Contributed By: Ida Miller



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