Steve Paul's The Scene is a popular midtown nightclub at 46th St. and 8th Ave. It sports a labyrinth floor plan which extends through a bizarre network of brick walled cellar rooms and passageways. While the club caters primarily to the jet-set, it also attracts a growing number of the hippie community. Steve Paul once described the purpose of his club in this way: 'To use music as a common denominator for the fusion between music, musicians, people who like music, and people who are music in their very being.'
Steve Paul, who had an uncanny eye for spotting new stars, would often feature new talent at his club long before word of them had gone out. Among the wide variety of performers featured at The Scene are the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Traffic, the Rascals, Fleetwood Mac and The Chambers Brothers. The Scene also became one of Jimi Hendrix's favorite locations for his impromptu jam sessions when hanging out in New York.
An Early Show at The Scene
Jun 19 - Jun 30, 1967 Steve Paul's 'The Scene' is host to a number of WOR-FM's 'Rock In Stereo' gatherings, designed to attract their listenership to live performances of artists from their playlists. During one of these shows, the Doors put on a hard-driving, earthy show, and Jim's subtle movements sway rhythmically to the dynamics of the music. Variety comments: 'Lead singer of the foursome, Jim Morrison is an attraction in himself as his understated gestures perpetuate the verbal themes of the Californian's songs.' (Bent, Variety, June 1967.)
Party at the Scene
The Doors were in New York for the third time for some concerts and a three week gig at the Scene. It was not quite the same as their two previous trips to New York. Last fall, when they were playing here for the first time, they were virtually unknown except to the innermost circles of hippies and groupies. Early in the spring, when they returned, their album had been released and was a big underground item - big enough to keep it in the national charts around number 100, and big enough to keep the club in which they were playing chock-full of the in-crowd every night.
But now we were in the midst of a Doors' boom. Their album and single were number one on the west coast, and the week prior to their arrival in New York, both had jumped about thirty points (which is very fantastic) on the national charts. In three weeks, they would be Top 10, album and single, and no new group since The Monkees had seen their first album go Top Ten. We were transporting, in our limousine from the airport, daisies and superstars - and we knew it.
Even while they were here, the phenomenon was growing bigger. Everyone came to see them, and I arrived at The Scene one night to find Jim Morrison and Paul Newman talking about the title song for a movie which Newman was planning to produce. And when I called the directors of the Central Park Music festival to arrange for passes for the Doors to the Paul Butterfield concert, I was told to have them enter the theater one at a time or they would be in danger of being rushed. Which I told them - but they came in together anyhow, and were rushed, and loved it. If they had stayed another week, they would have needed bodyguards.
The Doors played their last set at The Scene on a Saturday night. At 3 AM, when all the paying customers had left, Steve Paul locked us all in and gave a party for the boys, who had been the biggest draw in the history of his club. And on his part, Steve had been a good and groovy employer; I remember John asking Jim why he (Jim) would get to The Scene so well in advance of the time they had to perform, and Jim's answering, 'Well, I like to hang around Steve Paul and listen to him rap. He's funny.' Anyhow, there was a case of champagne for the closing night party, and it didn't matter that it wasn't quite chilled because everyone was happy, sloppy and tired, and it was a beautiful party. Robbie did his imitation of a shrimp, and Jim found something lying on the floor which looked like a balloon but wasn't, so he blew it up and let it go, whereupon it landed in Ingrid Superstar's champagne glass, which made Jim laugh, and everyone loved each other without any uptightness. It would be good if everything the Doors ever have to do ends so nicely. (The Doors in New York from Hullabaloo magazine.)
Bands today often make use of chartered planes or take Business Class Flights when they tour. Flying coach is not usually an option and driving can be difficult when the gigs are hundreds of miles apart. When compared to the comfortable seats on business class flights, the bumpy ride on a tour bus probably isn't the best choice.
Copyright 2016 by Greg Shaw et al/ Waiting-forthe-Sun.net