Vincent Treanor III
Road Manager for The Doors,
December 26 1967-January 19 1972
JULY 4 – HOLLYWOOD BOWL – FINAL SET UP, TESTING
We were awakened and a bit stiff, but the sun was rising on another glorious day. It was July 4th and the boys showed up early and we proceeded to connect all the amps into the power lines provided by the Bowl crew. There were no Union guys around and no one to argue with. They could not have done it in any case. It took about every cord I had made and many more that Steve had provided. We got it done. Time to test.
Every one of the heads had a “tuner” in it. It was a sound that, when turned on, allowed the guitarist, or whomever cared, to tune the first string. Then they would continue tuning as usual. We could use this feature to test the various instrument groups. First the organ, then the piano bass, and the two lovely Bass speakers; next was Robbie’s set up, and last was the PA for Jim. Of course, there was that “Special Effect – and we certainly had to be sure that would go well – through everything we had. We “tuned” that as well. Oh yes, It did work well; there was just a positive wall of “pitch” that flooded out over the stage and into the Bowl.
Now, I don’t know how much resolve or reserve most people might have in this case, but mine broke down. Someone, maybe me, maybe one of the others, suggested that just maybe we should hear the “Gunshot”… you know just to make sure. Of course, who could resist that temptation? So we turned the volume down and pulled the block. It did work! My God, it did work!
Now this was a lovely July day in Los Angeles. and it was a national Holiday. It was a celebration of the day upon which the intellectuals of the British Colonies on the eastern seaboard of the continent, decided to tell the British Monarch that they had enough of his taxes, blockades and murder. It was usually celebrated with parades and fire-works displays, while speeches were made by useless politicians who said useless things.
Because it was a holiday, natives and tourists were walking around seeing the sights, one of which was the Hollywood Bowl. All during the morning, we had observed an increasing number of people coming in and walking around through the seating area and along the front of the stage. Of course, they were aware of the performance on the morrow. It was announced on the event boards at the entrance to the parking lot, as well as the radio, newspapers and billboards. Quite naturally, this monstrous assembly of amplifiers gave indication that something big was going on.
It being a day of big bangs, we decided that we would put on our own show. At the stroke of 12:00 noon, we would fire the shot heard round the world–Ok, maybe not the world, but at least ‘round Hollywood.
Everything was carefully set up. The block was in place, all the amps were turned on, and the wiring was checked again. Yes, all was ready, and the hands of the watch moved all too slowly. But, at last it was 11:59 and counting. At exactly 12:00 we pulled the block.
Yes, we had tested it earlier and we knew it was going to be loud, but this was beyond loud. The sound level must have been greater than 150 Db. That crash just thundered out and washed up over the people wandering around the Bowl, who were completely unaware of what had happened. Some of the women, with the usual female response to emergencies, opened their mouths and screamed. Some covered their ears, as well they should. The rest of Hollywood wondered what had happened in the Cajuenga Pass that day.
It was sensational beyond our wildest expectations. It was positively glorious. It was so loud that the police got phone calls. People were wondering what had been blown up, or possibly, it was an earthquake in the Valley. Our efforts were, at that moment, suitably rewarded. Only we knew what would happen the next evening when the shot would again be heard around most of Hollywood.
Our fun being over, we had to think about lunch and some real rest. The boys were coming in at 16:00 that afternoon to rehearse and see how things were set up. Ferrara and his gang wanted to check the stage and seating area to plan the camera positions and movements. Ken and I wanted some sleep. One of the Band Boys went for burgers and cokes, and the rest of us just waited. After lunch, everyone just shut down and sprawled out in the shade for some blessed sleep.
The Boys arrived. John climbed the stairs to the top of his platform, some five feet over the stage. He did what every drummer does, fidget and fiddle with the drums. Ray and Robbie, being the more technical, walked along the stage front to observe the enormity of the entire set-up.
Ray was a man of few words, “That’s quite a set-up, Vince.” Jim just looked at me and smiled. They began to rehearse the pieces that were finally decided on. The people in the Bowl settled down to listen. They got a free show. After about an hour, they were satisfied with the play list and the sound. I worked out the routine and timing of the shot with John and Robbie. We even gave them a tiny sample, which brought forth the comment from Robbie, “Vince, you are crazy.” It is likely that he was correct in his observation.
Two of the boys agreed to stay with the equipment while everyone else when home to clean up and sleep. They would go home at midnight and two others came on. Ken and I would come back in the morning,and the night crew would go home to sleep. We would all meet at 16:00 and get ready to go.
Edited by Psychic Linda Lauren