Exact Dates Uncertain. The Doors become the house band at a small club on the Sunset Strip just a few doors down from the Whisky à Go Go called the London Fog.
The band begins playing there four nights a week starting in late February or early March and then expand to six nights a week until about May 7, 1966. They perform four or five sets per night on a small elevated stage just large enough to fit them. Also featured is a go-go dancer named Rhonda Layne who performs in a rope cage across from the group. Setlists from this period would typically include many blues covers, with Ray Manzarek taking on some of the vocal duties. Ray performs without his trademark Fender Rhodes piano bass for at least the earliest shows.
Interestingly, folk-rock group The Seeds Of Time (later renamed Shadow Legend) played the London Fog the night before The Doors started their stint there as the house band. It seems The Doors had already auditioned at the venue as singer Johnny Legend recalls being told he should come back the next night to hear "this band from Venice." Although he wasn't planning to return since he was underage (band members could be underage but not audience members), Legend forgot his electric autoharp at the club and had to return the next night to fetch it. He met Ray Manzarek who handed it to him carefully and said, "I put this aside, I thought it might be special." Johnny Legend remembers the night he picked up his autoharp — The Doors' first official night as the London Fog's house band — as a Monday.
Jim Morrison describes the venue: "Our first job was at the London Fog on Sunset Strip. It was a small club. The
most people it could hold, I'd say, would be about fifty — on a good night, there could be about fifty people.
There was a bartender named George, a doorman named Sam, sometimes Joey would be at the door, a waitress named
Susie and a dancer named Rhonda who danced in a little rope cage across from the bandstand. Jesse James was the owner. He was a young man, but he was dying of cancer and it was kind of a struggle to keep the place going."
The setlist below comes from the only known live recording made of The Doors at the London Fog as well as songs the band is known to have performed during this early period in their career. The exact date of the recording is uncertain at this time, but it includes a cover of Wilson Pickett's "Don't Fight It" (Jim would later incorporate verses from this song into live versions of "Break On Through"), a cover of "Lucille," and early versions of "Strange Days" and "You Make Me Real." Ray plays without a piano bass and sings "Hoochie Coochie Man." A missing second reel is said to have contained the original, short-form version of "The End."
Anyone with more information about shows at the London Fog, or any specific dates or photos of The Doors' tenure there, is urged to contact me