I was there: The Doors and Jefferson Airplane - Roundhouse - Celebrating 50 Years


7 September 1968

Joss Mullinger shares his memories of the famous Jefferson Airplane and The Doors gigs, which was one of the only UK show The Doors ever played, alongside the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival.

Original ticket for The Doors at the Roundhouse, 7 September 1968

Credit: Joss Mullinger

There were three of us, 17-year-olds at boarding school and mad keen about The Doors and the West Coast Music scene. We avidly read anything we could find in the music press, particularly Melody Maker and Disc and Music Echo, and joined a mailing list run by Sylvia Kneller at Polydor Records, who distributed Elektra records in the UK. Sylvia sent us monthly newsletters, press releases, fan notes, posters and promotional photographs of the bands signed to Elektra such as The Doors, Love, Clear Light, Paul Butterfield Blues Band etc. When The Doors gigs at the Roundhouse were announced, we were able to buy tickets direct from Sylvia. I recall these tickets as being highly decorated and colourful – we handed these in when we arrived for the gig and then on leaving at the end, looked for them at the entrance to keep as souvenirs. Sadly there were no colourful examples to be found, just the plain black & white tickets.

The Doors and Jefferson Airplane shows at the Roundhouse were all night gigs on Friday and Saturday 6 and 7 September 1968. We had tickets for the second night. We queued for what seemed like hours outside and then entered the building. I recall it as being a vast, cavernous barn of a place, no seating, just everyone sitting on the floor. Facilities were very basic. The backdrop to the stage was simple huge white curtains, presumably for Jefferson Airplane’s amazing light show.

The support bands were Welsh band Blonde on Blonde followed by Terrys Reid’s Fantasia, then there was a long wait before The Doors played to rapturous applause from the crowd. They and Jefferson Airplane played two sets each. The Doors first set was brightly illuminated with white spotlights because it was being filmed.

I remember little about the actual performances except of course that we loved every moment of it, finally stumbling, tired & happy, out into the grey light of dawn the next day.

I had two cameras but only a few frames of film, couldn’t afford much then! The colour images are on 35mm daytime film hence the under-exposures, whilst the black & white are from 1&1/2 inch square negatives taken with flash or the bright (first set) stage lighting. In those days the camera flash-gun used single-use throwaway bulbs! The cameras were an old Russian ‘ZENIT-3M’ 35mm and a simple Kodak 127 camera.

See Joss’ image gallery from the night.