Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Aug 12, 2013 13:32:28 GMT
Sunday May 19 1968 Northern California Folk-Rock Festival Family Park - Santa Clara County Fairgrounds San Jose CA
The Northern California Folk-Rock Festival was held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on May 18 and 19. The Doors performed on Sunday the nineteenth and encountered several problems. The ground was cold and wet and there was nothing for the crowd to sit on.
As the day wore on the sun grew hotter, making the audience more tired and disagreeable, and a few Hell's Angels lost their tempers and beat some people up backstage. On top of this the musical preferences of the Sants Clara crowd ran more to the San Francisco groups than to performers from Smog City. To his credit, Morrison put his all into the show but the band was not that well received. Having tired of hearing about the length of his hair, Morrison cut it himself the week before (causing a frantic series of transcontinental phone calls by New York groupies to find out just how short it was) and he looked more like a mid-sixties English pop star than a West Coast acid rocker. His performance was of a colossal superstar freak-out and when he tripped and fell at one point- a genuine accident- the audience actually groaned with disgust. Their faces were saying, "Another put-on, huh, Morrison? We know what your thing is, man!"
Morrison never liked performing outside or in the daylight and Santa Clara convinced him he was right. "We've never done too well in those outdoor daytime concerts. I think that we need the night and a sort of theater-type atmosphere and mood in which to work. There's something about the daylight and the open spaces that just sort of dissipates the whole magic."
Break On Through
Northern California Folk-Rock Festival
The Doors are scheduled to close this two-day event with a one-hour set at 4:30 on Sunday. They take the stage (following Country Joe and the Fish) after at least ten other bands have played quick and tightly scheduled sets, and put on a good performance, although it is not received all that well by the weary crowd. Also performing during the two-day event: The Grateful Dead; the Animals; Big Brother and the Holding Company; the Youngbloods; the Electric Flag; Jefferson Airplane; Kaleidoscope; Country Joe and the Fish; Taj Mahal; and many lesser-known bands.
The Doors On The Road
Filmed For Feast Of Friends
The outdoor venue does nothing for The Doors magic and the show is lack luster. The Doors are scheduled to close this two-day event with a one hour set at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. They come onto the stage after a long day of music and at least ten other bands had played before them.
The crowd was a little tired and the band playing in the middle of the afternoon made for a less than outstanding performance that just wasn't received with much enthusiasm.
Also performing during the two-day event: The Grateful Dead; The Animals; Big Brother and The Holding Company; the Youngbloods; the Electric Flag; Jefferson Airplane; Kaleidoscope; Country Joe and the Fish; Taj Mahal; and many other lesser known bands.
On May 19th, 1968, my brother and I took our girlfriends to an outdoor rock concert - the Northern California Folk-Rock Festival at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Besides the Doors, other performers at the venue were the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin's group), Country Joe & the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Miller, Taj Mahal, the Youngbloods, the Sons of Champlin, the Loading Zone, and a few other San Francisco bands from that era.
My brother Mark thought to bring our dad's 1962 era Bell & Howell "Zoomatic" 8 mm movie camera -- the exact same model with which Abraham Zapruder captured the assassination of JFK. No batteries, no electronics, just a wind-up spring for power. As far as anybody knows, this is the only known footage from this concert. There are lots of still shots on the Internet, but no video.
After trying unsuccessfully to get the remaining Doors to sign off on allowing me market this footage on E-Bay -- they asked me to "donate" it to their archives -- fat chance, I've decided to upload it for all the world to see instead. Mark entrusted me with the film, so I had the original 8 mm Kodachrome footage remastered digitally. The images were passed through an aerial image optical system from a projector to a high end camera which then sends the signal directly to a DVCAM/Mini DV deck.
It's in color, about three and a half minutes long (the last half exclusively of the Doors), however there's no audio. Repeat; THERE'S NO AUDIO. Those old 8 mm movie cameras weren't set up for sound at that time. But Jim Morrison's performance that day was captured beautifully. All his strutting, flopping around, his infamous olive-green leather pants, and at one point, nearly falling off the stage.
This concert took place 16 months before Woodstock. It was the progenitor of many of the outdoor concerts that followed, before they came crashing to a halt at Altamont. I don't know how many people were there, but we were stoned, stinky and stupid ... and happy. Pot smoke wafted all around, and nobody seemed to care. If you were around the Bay Area during those days, you know what I'm talking about. It was a great time and place to be a teenager.
The footage begins with about 30 seconds of the camera panning the audience. Then it shows a skydiver parachuting into the crowd. Then a few seconds of panning hippies, yippies, and freaks as we rocked out to the performers onstage (and a momentary glimpse of yours truly as I tried to find my way back to my place in the crowd). Then the Youngbloods, Country Joe & the Fish, and finally, the Doors.
Country Joe McDonald himself got wind of this footage through my friend Ricardo who works with Joe's wife, so I sent him a copy on DVD. After more than 45 years of championing human rights, saving whales, opposing wars, and entertaining an entire generation, I figured that's the least I could do. He still lives in Berkeley, and still tours, mostly in Europe now where he's more popular there than here for some reason. Thanks again Joe!
I hope you enjoy it.
UPDATE: Thanks to a very knowledgeable viewer, a bit of a bonus has turned up in this video. At the 1:50 mark, there is a young man with a camera on a tripod wearing a light blue shirt. That young man is none other than Harrison Ford! It turns out he was an assistant to the band, building stages, etc., and happened to be on a camera that day. Much thanks to Logan for this information!
"That's the trouble with reality!.... it's taken far too seriously! I do hope God is good to me and Santa Claus to the children! Celebrate...this parties over...I'm going home!"