A selection of Santana posters, handbills and serigraphs with detailed information.

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The Poster Master

Posters/Handbills/Serigraphs

The Poster Master

Dick Dixon

The first time I heard a Santana song was sometime in the spring of 1970. I was washing dishes in the kitchen sink at home and looking out the window when this song came on the radio that just wasn't like anything else that was being played at that time. There was something different about the rhythm of it, how it sounded, I just liked the way it made me feel. I remember walking over to the radio and turning up the volume. They didn't announce who it was so when it was over I called the radio station and asked the disc jockey "what was that song you just played?" He said "that's some new group out of California called Santana, and the name of the song was Evil Ways." I asked my mom to drive me across town to the only record store I knew so I could buy that album. I brought it home and played it on my one-speaker record player over and over as I gazed at the Lion head drawing on the cover, finding all the different faces while listening to the music that sounded like it was from another world . That was the day I became a fan.

The first show I attended was on May 30, 1976 in Des Moines, Iowa. I lived 3 hours away and it was a foggy morning so I took off early since it was a 12 o'clock noon show with four bands scheduled to play. Pure Prairie League, J. Geils Band, Santana and the headliner Foghat. After about 3 1/2 hours or so it was Santana's turn to play but unfortunately the PA system decided to have problems with the sound cutting in and out, then distorting like there were blown speakers on one side. It was quite disappointing to say the least. If my memory serves me right they actually played a couple songs from Borboletta and quite a few from Amigos, and of course Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va. When the entire show was over I walked back to the car to find a dead battery because I had left my headlights on for nearly 7 hours.

To me, collecting Santana concert posters and handbills is like collecting pieces of history, artifacts of times gone by. Each piece represents a moment in time that will never be repeated, a musical event by my favorite group. The artwork involved varies from pieces with generic block lettering to ones that have the most intricate little details. Some others that include photographs of the different band lineups over the decades. From black and white artwork to the most vibrant colors in the rainbow. If I have one major vice in life, I guess this is it.

Carlos Santana & Dick Dixon
Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV. Morning after show played on Jan 5, 1996
© Karim Brichi

Posters/Handbills/Serigraphs (56 entries)

The Matrix, San Francisco, CA November 17-18-19, 1967

Artist: McLellan

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: At the dawn of the so-called 'San Francisco Sound' one of the first places people could gather to hear live music was the Matrix Club, opened up in 1965 by Marty Balin who later admitted he did it just so he could start a band and have a place to play. That band would turn out to be the Jefferson Airplane and they were basically the house band before becoming one of San Francisco's most popular groups of the era. In business from 1965 to 1971, the original Matrix was a tiny club that accommodated no more than 120 people while serving up beer and pizza in addition to the music. Strangely, because of a law that was still in effect from the early days of prohibition, dancing to live music was not allowed in San Francisco unless you were at a hotel or a venue that had a special dance permit. So after putting on several 'illegal' shows and having the police come and bust them a few times the Matrix made sure to get one to avoid any more troubles. In April 1966 Bill Graham was actually arrested for allowing a dance at the Fillmore to take place without having a dance hall permit. For six short years the club hosted many legendary or soon to be legendary bands and many of those musicians, famous or not, hung out there because of it's history and the owners respect for them. On any given evening you might see a performance from the Doors, the Grateful Dead or the Steve Miller blues band among others. A huge bonus for groups playing the Matrix was the high quality recording equipment used to capture their onstage performances. Almost every group's set was put on tape and recordings of the Great Society (Grace Slick's first band), Steppenwolf, the Velvet Underground and Santana were later released as live albums. This small poster from 1967 advertised a week of shows that kicked off with harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite's blues band (as of this writing he's still alive, his most recent album came out in 2020). Finishing out the week it lists two nights in a row by the Santana Blues Band, making their first ever appearance at this venue. Even at this early stage of their career they were already on the fifth different lineup as Doc Livingston had just replaced Rod Harper on drums. And in what I assume was the artist poking fun at parents worried about their children getting pulled into the dark world of drugs and devil music, it looks like Lucifer himself is promoting this five day stretch of shows. On a sign hanging over the entrance to what might be the netherworld he's offering a free pass for the entire week, although I'm not sure he's talking about a pass to the concerts... Standing ominously atop a slender peak in the distance, one of his disciples opens its wings in anticipation of your arrival while a pterodactyl flies slowly overhead. This is definitely one of several pieces from the early Santana days that uses bizarre or unusual artwork to promote a show.

Small Poster

Straight Theatre, San Francisco, CA December 1-2-3, 1967

Artist: Chris Braga

Reference: STGH 74

Dick Dixon: Originally called the Haight Theater when it opened in 1910, it operated for decades as a popular movie theater. When it changed hands in 1964 the new owners decided to turn it into a gay experimental theater, with explicit paintings on the walls and drag shows after the movie. The public was outraged and demanded it be closed. It lasted about a month until the owners ran off overnight leaving behind their home, a warrant for their arrest and a series of unpaid bills. They supposedly fled San Francisco in a new convertible with two female impersonators in the backseat, or so the story goes. The theater remained vacant for a couple years until a group of local artists took ownership of it and reopened it as a concert hall in August 1967. Because of the previous controversy surrounding it they decided to rename it the Straight Theater, and jokingly advertised on it's marquee that "The Haight is Straight!" It still showed movies but they explored other areas of entertainment too. In it's first three weeks the Straight hosted a poetry reading, a play, and a Grateful Dead concert. Happy to have another venue in town, many of the local Bay Area bands would play there including: Sons of Champlin, Peter, Paul and Mary, Charlie Musselwhite, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, Clover, It's A Beautiful Day, Blue Cheer, Little Richard and the Santana Blues Band. It closed down in the summer of 1969 after only three years, the owners claiming that the increased presence of hard drugs and crime in the surrounding area had ruined the scene. This handbill was created by Chris Braga, another one of those 60s poster artists about whom very little info exists. I've only seen one other handbill by him, which also advertised a concert here three months earlier. The design is Braga's modern interpretation of the Alice in Wonderland cat smoking a hookah. The headlining act Mad River would release two albums before breaking up in 1969.

Handbill

Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA April 19-20-21, 1968

Artist: Steve Catron

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Posters and handbills done by Steve Catron are not seen that often simply because he didn't do that many of them. According to the memories of those who knew him, he pretty much kept to himself most of the time and was very secretive about his work. Described as being obsessive, he usually refused to show his art to anyone and always said he had destroyed it to avoid letting them see it. Then sometimes on a rare occasion and if the mood struck him, he would give them a glimpse of what he was working on. While in San Francisco, he made his living retouching photos and only designed a few posters in his spare time before returning to his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Carousel Ballroom itself was originally a swing-era dance palace in its early days. But in 1968 the cream of San Francisco rock, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, became partners for a short time to operate the ballroom for some weekend concerts. This put them in direct competition with Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium and Chet Helms' Avalon Ballroom. However, the Carousel was considered the best all around place in San Francisco for rock groups to play at because it had good sound everywhere, plenty of space to sit and listen, and enough room to dance. The main attraction on this night was Erma Franklin, a gospel/soul singer and the older sister of Aretha Franklin. A great vocal talent, she never attained the fame of her younger sister but did achieve success in her own right. Perhaps her best known song was "Piece Of My Heart", recorded in 1967, which became a top 10 hit and also earned her a Grammy nomination. A cover version of that song was recorded the following year and became a much bigger hit for Big Brother and the Holding Company, with a singer by the name of Janis Joplin. After just six months of putting on shows, the Dead and the Airplane decided that playing concerts was a lot more fun than promoting them, so gave up their lease on the building. At the same time, Bill Graham thought this would be a much better venue than where he was so closed down his existing Fillmore Auditorium and moved into the larger Carousel, renaming it the Fillmore West. After three years of showcasing some of the country's very best musicians, Bill closed the Fillmore West on July 4, 1971 with five nights of shows featuring some of San Francisco's hottest bands like Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service among others.

Handbill

Stanford Summer Rock. Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA July 28, 1968

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Even though it's not colorful or flashy, this handbill promoted a pretty big event that happened in the small California town of Palo Alto. Stanford University had always been careful about using the chosen venue, Frost Amphitheatre, for too many events and for most of the 1960's they limited concerts to weekend afternoons only. It was a beautiful open air venue dug out of an artificially constructed hill and able to fit 6,900 people inside it's grassy, terraced bowl. It's size actually made it too large for most concerts and since the University had no financial motive to attract any big shows, smaller concerts were done at other locations around the campus. And when the fall of '66 passed there would be almost no concerts of any size held at Stanford for the next year and a half. But by 1968 loud rock and roll became more mainstream and young people up and down the Peninsula wanted to see bands full of long-haired guitarists playing their own music. Palo Alto's downtown started to open shops selling lava lamps and posters and the University began letting small concerts happen on campus again, but avoided rock shows at the Frost. Then for whatever reasons, in the summer of '68 they decided to allow this big outdoor event to be held on a Sunday afternoon when college was not in session. A week before the show advertisements started appearing and one thing you could count on about concerts occuring at the Frost was that the multiple ads, posters and handbills always had varying degrees of accuracy. Depending on which one you looked at there would be bands listed that would not be playing, misspelled band names or totally missing names altogether. Expecting a big crowd to show up, the July 19th issue of the Stanford Daily newspaper ran an ad for help titled "Student Police Needed for Folk-Rock Festival at Frost 12-7pm $1.50/hr".

Featured performer the Chambers Brothers had been discovered a few years earlier by an up and coming new producer named David Rubinson who, with the help of Clive Davis, bought their contract from a smaller record label and signed them to Columbia Records. They continued to tour relentlessly and built up a big following around the country while becoming Fillmore headliners. Their hard work paid off two months after this show when they had a successful hit single with “Time Has Come Today", a rock-soul-psychedelic freakout that got heavy radio play all over the country. Interestingly, shortly after signing them to his label and hearing it played at a show Clive Davis had adamantly refused to let them record this song because it was "too profound of a statement for four black guys to be saying to the world". But Rubinson so believed in it that he snuck the band into the studio early one morning and told them they had to record it live in just one take and leave the rest to him. According to Willie Chambers "Clive Davis didn't find out about it until it had been mixed, prepped and released. When he found out, he fired everybody he could. He fired our producer, I think he fired the guy that opened the door for us. He fired everybody that got involved with recording that song."

Quicksilver Messenger Service was always locally popular, and their first album on Capitol had only been out for a few months. While their style of music was an unusual mix of classical, jazz and folk they favored using dual guitars to extend songs into free form jams during their gigs. Considered tougher sounding than the Grateful Dead and looser than the Jefferson Airplane they never managed to achieve the popularity of either band, and in spite of getting a hit song with "Fresh Air" in 1970 they faded away after 1975. As it happened, the day of this show they arrived late so actually came on last after the Chambers Brothers.

Creedence Clearwater Revival Band (mistakenly spelled Credence on this handbill) had been performing together for several years with their music being described as everything from swamp rock to country. Their first single “Suzie Q” was starting to get noticed and their debut album was out but an advance tape had already been played for months on local radio. They performed most of it during their set along with several songs from what would become their second album including 'Proud Mary', which became a major hit for the band and was later covered by many other artists including Ike and Tina Turner. It was the beginning of a great but too short career for the band that went on to chalk up some little known achievements: Creedence holds the record for the most singles (five) to reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 without ever scoring a number 1 single, as well as the most singles to reach the top 10 (nine) without ever hitting #1. In both 1969 and 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival outsold The Beatles to became the biggest selling rock and roll band in the world.

The Sons of Champlin were a Marin County band and very successful on the teen dance circuit, playing tight rhythm and blues with Beatles-like harmonies. Unlike many other local rock bands the Sons were all superb musicians who could each play multiple instruments and had a lead singer (Bill Champlin) who aspired to sing like James Brown or Lou Rawls in addition to playing keyboards. The band did have local recognition, but were still several months away from recording their first album (also on Capitol), which would not be released until the Spring of 1969.

Santana, or the Santana Blues Band which was the name they were most often known by, had a good following around San Francisco but were pretty much unknown in the South Bay area. In fact they were so unfamiliar that an ad published in the Stanford Daily paper listed them as the Satan Blues Band. Organist and singer Gregg Rolie was considered a local boy from Palo Alto, having attended high school there a few years earlier. He had also been part of a popular South Bay band called William Penn and His Pals, who were a knock-off of the very popular Paul Revere and The Raiders. He had quit that group to move to the big city and ended up forming a band with this young guitarist from the Mission, so it must have been a kick to come back and play Stanford's huge amphitheatre. A year later and shortly after appearing at Woodstock the band's first album was released and would spend over two years on the Billboard charts, jumpstarting their transformation from an unknown into superstardom.

Handbill

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA July 30-31-Aug 1, 1968

Artist: Lee Conklin

Reference: BG 131

Dick Dixon: Not often remembered is the fact that Bill Graham originally started giving away posters to the first 100 or so people that left his Fillmore concerts every night just because he wanted them out of the venue so cleanup could begin. This is one of those many giveaways, a clever poster by Lee Conklin showing a visual illusion a lot of us did as kids. When the forefingers of each hand are held horizontally about a foot in front of the eyes, with the fingertips touching and your gaze focused just above them on a point in the distance, slowly pull your fingers apart and you'll see the famous 'floating finger' effect. Working in a design that was a departure from his usual style, Conklin's puffy lettering was meant to hide in plain sight the band names and concert dates within the clouds, then camouflage even more names and information in the landscape. The interlocking fingers and those staring eyeballs may come from the artist's mission "to translate my psychedelic experience onto paper" as he once described his artwork. The main attraction for this set of shows, the Butterfield Blues Band, had already released four Lp's by this date and their album 'East/West' has long been credited as the first psychedelic album to come from a blues band as well as one of the most influential blues albums of all time. They would be one of the many groups to appear at the Woodstock Festival a year later even though their performance did not make it into the movie. Also on the bill was a rather unusual band called The Hello People, who dressed in white face paint onstage and then performed wordless mime routines between sets. Although never making it big they still released seven albums throughout the 60s and 70s.

Poster

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA August 27-28-29, 1968

Artist: Lee Conklin

Reference: BG 134

Dick Dixon: Even though artist Lee Conklin has been creating poster art for over 50 years, he may be most known for the image used on the cover of Santana's first album. What many people don't realize is that the album cover was actually the second time he'd drawn that image, and it was slightly different from the first one which had been done a year earlier. Here we see that original drawing, done for a Fillmore West poster advertising a pair of 1968 shows. The first three nights were headlined by Steppenwolf, with Santana as the opening act, followed by three nights of the Grateful Dead and guests. Curious about what his inspiration might have been I contacted him in 1994 to ask. He explained that he had been on the hunt for an image to use so had purchased a book of animal pictures. While turning the pages he let his mind become playful and tried to see each image as what it might be, not what it was. He finally settled on the lion, seeing many artistic opportunities within its face. Asked if any substances might have been involved to 'help the process' Lee chuckled and admitted that yes, there had been some of that too. Although Bill Graham preferred color posters to advertise his concerts, he found this image so powerful he decided to go with Lee's black and white version this time. It was shortly after these concerts that Lee got a visit from Carlos and David Brown, who both told him they wanted to use the picture for the first Lp, so he redrew it and changed it just slightly. He added more detail to the faces, figures and surrounding area and even found room to add an extra face into the design. This is one of the most recognizable poster images of the psychedelic era, and it's been legitimately printed/reprinted a total of four times so far, with some included variations that determine which print run it belongs to.

Poster

Climax Of The Autumnal Equinox. Selland Arena, Fresno, CA November 3, 1968

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: 1968 was a very busy one for the band. They were playing multiple shows every month, sometimes two or three nights in a row at the same venue. The majority of their time was spent in and around the Bay Area but they did venture out to Nevada and Washington for two of the gigs. Interestingly, their advertised name would switch between Santana Blues Band, Santana and Santana Blues throughout the year, sometimes happening in different ads for the same show. Occasionally they were the headliner, but more often than not they were a supporting act. That was the case here when Joe McDonald's band was the main attraction. Country Joe and the Fish were one of the most popular of the San Francisco bands at the time and were also among the first acts to use a light show during concerts as well as self-producing records to promote themselves. Originally more of a folk music band they soon went electric and by this point they had already released two recordings, broken up, then got back together with a new lineup. The band name was a compromise proposed by the group's manager. The first part was a reference to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin whose nickname was "Country Joe" and was regarded by many as heroic for being Nazi Germany's greatest nemesis at a time when the governments of England, France, and the United States were wondering what to do about German militarism and the prospects of war. He then quoted Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong's metaphor about a revolutionary who resembled 'the fish who swims in the sea of the people.' In a similiar spirit, Country Joe McDonald was one of the very few musicians on the San Francisco scene who'd served in uniform but he also may have written the most blatantly anti-war, anti-military song to come out of the '60s. That song became the one they're most known for, "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag", and a memorable live performance of it would eventually be included in the Woodstock movie.

Handbill

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA December 19-20-21-22, 1968

Artist: Wes Wilson

Reference: BG 150

Dick Dixon: Wes Wilson's (R.I.P.) one and only poster for a Santana concert. Rumor has it that he and Bill Graham had a falling out over the prices being paid to artists to produce concert posters so he only made one more for a Bill after this. The image represents two faces opposing each other with the words above their heads reading: "this house divided is against itself", perhaps a reference to the disagreement between the two. The Grass Roots started out as a project of two songwriters trying to cash in on the folk rock movement of 1965/66. The writers recorded a song and sent it out as a demo to several radio stations in the San Francisco area. When some interest was shown in this "new band" the songwriters had to go out and search for a group that could actually become this band, record their material and promote it with live shows. They found a Bay Area band who wanted to do it and it worked for a few months until the members became frustrated with not being able to play their own music, so the partnership broke up. After some more searching an L.A. band was found that was willing to change their name, and with the help of the songwriters and producers they developed a unique sound playing a mix of blue-eyed soul and big brassy rock. They would eventually rack up a total of 21 singles on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 chart.

Poster

Rainbow Ballroom, Fresno, CA December 30, 1968

Artist: Tusan and Russo Studio

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Very interesting imagery on this one, the more you look at it the more things you will discover. The nesting women waiting to be fed, the human-animal hybrid in the background, the odd man with severed legs and the head of a bird. The artists may have been inspired by century old paintings depicting something called Theriocephaly, which refers to a human with the head of an animal. Many mythological creatures and characters in some of our oldest stories are endowed/afflicted with this condition. Christian, Greek, Hindu and Native American folklore all have variations on this in their histories. But surpassing them all are the characters in Egyptian mythology, where almost all of the gods and goddesses have animal heads. While in Native American history, stories have been passed down through the generations of shapeshifting, or skinwalking, a practice sometimes used by medicine people and Shaman to transform into part animal for the purpose of healing and protecting their communities.

Handbill

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA February 13-14-15-16, 1969

Artist: Greg Irons

Reference: BG 160

Dick Dixon: As was happening fairly frequently in 1969, Santana was often the main attraction over other groups who already had albums or hit singles out, and this was particularly true when they played the Fillmore West. This poster by Greg Irons pictures one of the earliest Santana Band lineups consisting of (L to R) Carlos Santana, Marcus Malone, Doc Livingston, Greg Rolie and David Brown. The art work shows us a hand drawn urban street scene, done in a cutaway fashion that exposes a subway tunnel just below the street's surface and a partial glimpse into an apartment building above. On the surface itself is a narrow street jammed with bumper to bumper traffic and a crowd of people filing into an entrance at base of the building. In two different rooms above, one man washes the sweat from his body while in the adjacent apartment a man's head is enveloped in smoke that rises through the rooftop combining with more smoke, steam and sounds from the sweltering city below and forming a cloud in which the picture of the band appears. The colors of this drawing start out in red and graduate upward into orange then yellow, similar to a burning flame. The drawing and colors chosen by the artist are very appropriate when interpreted along with Santana's music: Music from the streets, a tension-filled rhythmic pounding that escalates into a burning fusion of sights, sounds and smells that lift you above the hectic every day troubles of life (listen to "Savor" and "Jingo" from their debut Lp). A Canadian band by the name of The Collectors opened the show. They had two released Lp’s under their belt, musically combining psychedelic rock, Gregorian chants and jazz licks. The albums had done quite well in their home country but didn’t get much attention in the USA, although their live shows did attract a respectable amount of people when playing along the California coast. Folk rock singer Melanie first found chart success in 1969 with "Bobo's Party" which reached #1 in France, and her popularity in Europe resulted in performances on European television programs, such as Beat-Club in West Germany. Interestingly, she would soon be one of only three solo women who performed at Woodstock and later said the inspiration for her first hit song, "Lay Down” arose from the Woodstock audience lighting what appeared to be candles during her set. The recording became a hit in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States in 1970. She then had her biggest #1 hit with 1972’s "Brand New Key” which sold over three million copies worldwide, and was also honored with Billboard's Number 1 Top Female Vocalist Award that same year.

Poster

Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA March 21-22-23, 1969

Artist: Robert Fried

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: This rare piece advertised three nights of shows to be held at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. Soundproof Productions, who promoted the event, was the first company to produce concerts at this venue after the departure of the legendary Family Dog who had hosted events there from 1966-1968. Compared to a lot of the poster artwork of the time this one was easily readable while being visually interesting. The dark blue skies of outer space speckled with stars and planets served as the backdrop to the circular 'world' of water out of which a guitar playing lion emerges on a surfboard. Coincidentally, this was the second time a lion's image was used in the advertising of a Santana concert. At the bottom of the poster a blazing yellow orange sun has set fire to all the words above it, the intense heat literally sending pieces of flame upwards until they join together to spell out the Santana name. Artist Bob Fried, who was a friend of both LSD guru Timothy Leary and poet Allen Ginsberg, had been trained as a commercial artist but found himself more drawn to and inspired by the late 60s art scene happening in the Bay Area. He soon began to experiment and create his own artwork and would often get commissioned by various promoters to do special concert posters such as this one. He was actually one of the first artists to use a printing press to communicate his visions and ideas instead of painting and collaging them first. The following quote is excepted from an interview with Fried about his posters before his death in 1975: "I wanted to keep them simple and I wanted them to have entrances and passages. I wanted my posters to convey feelings of dimensional space like what you feel when you trip on acid, passing from one reality into another. I wanted people to feel in my posters the sense of discovery I myself was feeling".

Poster

The Rose Palace, Pasadena, CA April 11-12, 1969

Artist: W. Painter

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: This was the first time the band played this far down the coast from their home base. They had already been signed to Columbia Records and had possibly begun some recording of their first album. Still not as big a draw as some of the more popular groups or even having much name recognition outside of their usual venue areas, they had to be content with playing at the second or third spot from the top quite often. On the night of this gig the reputation of headliner Procol Harum, who's name roughly translated from latin means 'beyond these things', was already bolstered by the release of two Lp's and having a song that had risen to number one in ten countries with "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (which Santana would eventually cover in 2021). Throughout the rest of their career the band, which for a short time included guitar great Robin Trower, would try in vain to recreate the magic but the song had burdened them with a legend they couldn't live up to and having another mega hit like that one would never happen again.

Handbill

Spring Flush. Edmundson Pavilion, University Of Washington, Seattle, WA May 3, 1969

Artist: Franz Xavier Leyendecker (original art)

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: It was their last live show before recording of the first album began and the Santana Blues Band headlined a fourteen hour happening called the Spring Flush, which took place at the University of Washington in Seattle. Included in the price of admission was a huge light show that continued throughout the duration of the event, a ten ride circus carnival and a promised attempt to turn the venue into a 'far-out environment'. With all this and a roster of eight musical acts, who could ask for anything more? Santana probably played most of what would end up on that first album along with a few instrumental jams they liked to do, knowing they'd have to keep all the songs short and sweet once they were in the studio. Among the other groups playing were It's A Beautiful Day, a San Francisco band using an electric violin as the lead instrument rather than guitar and creating a sound that set it apart from other bands. Remembered mostly for their song 'White Bird' even though it never became a top 40 hit, they came close appearing at the Woodstock festival later that year. Band leader David Laflamme explained what happened in an interview with a Utah newspaper: "Michael Lang and I had known each other long before the festival and had a verbal agreement. He had approached me about playing at the festival and I told him if he could pull it together, we would play. Michael promised us a slot and we got ourselves to Woodstock, but at that particular time Bill Graham was managing Santana and he wanted Santana to play. So the two of them agreed to flip a coin and as fate would have it, Graham won." Also on the bill was a band from Los Angeles who'd been around since 1966 and had the unusual name of Peanut Butter Conspiracy. With melodies rooted in both psychedelia and pop, they were combining music trends of the time and already had some minor success with a couple of albums. On a side note, adding guitar parts to a few songs on their first Lp had been a young session musician named Glen Campbell, who was already on the path to superstardom. Unfortunately, as the novelty of their name wore off the Peanut Butter Conspiracy garnered less and less attention and eventually disbanded in 1970. The fairy-type image used on this poster was actually taken from an original painting created back in the early 1920's by artist Franz Xavier Leyendecker and had once graced the cover of Life magazine. Franz was born in Germany and for a time had studied art at the Académie Julian in France. By the time of his death in 1924 he was suffering from depression and poor health due to his ongoing drug addiction and it's thought that he committed suicide by morphine overdose.

The misspelling of the word Beautiful on the poster was corrected for the newspaper ad, but they neglected to capitalize all the letters to match. They also made some changes to the wording below the image and used bigger, bold lettering.

Small Poster
Ad
Original Art © Franz Xavier Leyendecker

2nd Annual Northern California Folk-Rock Festival. Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, CA May 24, 1969

Artist: Linda Segul

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: The Santana band was just another group among the many that appeared during this three day festival in the late spring of 1969. There were actually two competing festivals on this Memorial Day weekend and they were held within one mile of each other. The rival show was called the Aquarian Family Festival which was free, but also a protest of sorts against Bob Blodgett who was promoting the second Northern California Folk-Rock Festival. He had promoted the first one a year earlier that had been successful monetarily but which city leaders later described as a drug fueled mess that sent hundreds of overdosed attendees to onsite medical tents and local emergency rooms. As a result Blodgett was banned from using Santa Clara County facilities for any future events. But he returned anyway and this second one was surrounded by controversy from the very start due to his handling of the permit arrangements and promotion of the festival itself. To begin with, he was able to rent the Fairgrounds under false pretenses by using a dummy organization to circumvent the County's ban and in the months before the event started advertising Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin as the main acts even though neither of them had signed a contract to appear. Local Radio station KSJO was warning listeners that several of the bands advertised for the festival, as well as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, were not going to appear because they were booked elsewhere at the time. Zeppelin already had gigs to play in Chicago, Illinois and Columbia, Maryland on those three days. A lawsuit in connection with the use of their name was brought against Blodgett and he was ordered to issue a refund to any ticket buyer who requested one. In the meantime Hendrix had been arrested in Canada on May 3rd for drug possession, but continued with his American tour which landed him in San Diego for a show on Saturday the 24th. Blodgett then made arrangements for him to fly by Learjet to San Jose on Sunday afternoon and paid him $30,000 to play for just under an hour, bringing the concert to an end. Over the years conflicting reports about this festival have surfaced about almost everything written above including who did or did not play that weekend. A comment supposedly made by Blodgett's lawyer in 2013 stated that it was actually he who had made all the arrangements with the city to make this event happen and that there had been no false pretenses in the process. This handbill used to promote the event is printed on a delicate foil, similiar to aluminum foil. Depending on what angle it's held at in the light, the look of the center image and band lineup changes.

Handbill
Handbill (side view)

People's Park Bail Ball Benefit. Winterland, San Francisco, CA May 28, 1969

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Peoples Park was originally just a plot of land the University of California had purchased with the intent of building student housing, and was the size of a city block. But the University ran out of development funds and for two years the bulldozed land sat vacant, slowly accumulating old cars and junk. So political activists from Berkeley decided they would turn the land into a park for the people. They rolled out sod, planted trees and flowers, bought swing sets, put in a garden, a winding brick footpath and an amphitheater, all built and maintained by volunteers. This land was still legally the property of the University, but after seeing what the volunteers had done with the small section they had built, the University promised to let them keep it. Plans were made to put a fence around the park and then go ahead with the building of student housing on the rest of the block as originally planned. However, Governor Ronald Reagan had been publicly critical of the University’s administrators for tolerating student demonstrations at the Berkeley campus. Reagan called the Berkeley campus "a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants." Then on March 15, 1969, Reagan sent California highway patrol and Berkeley police officers into People's Park, overriding the University’s promise to the people who had built it. As the crowd of protesters grew larger more police were brought in from neighboring cities, creating a volatile atmosphere. Eventually a major confrontation ensued between police and the crowd, which ended up with over 100 people injured and one man dead. The following week this benefit concert was held in an effort to bail out the more than 250 protesters who had been arrested.

Handbill

Sounds Of The City. Exhibit Hall, Convention Center, Fresno, CA May 29, 1969

Artists: Casey and Mercer

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Having been the opener at the People's Park benefit the day before, Santana was now the big draw for this show just down the road. The first thing I noticed about this handbill was that the Santana logo had been directly lifted from Lee Conklin's 1968 Fillmore West poster. A slight change was made to the 'S', but the rest of the lettering is identical. Most likely this was was done to avoid a lawsuit over copyright infringement. The remaining artwork surrounding the name very much mimics Conklin's poster as well but the art design here is credited to Mercer Studios. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Conklin ended up having a few words with them after seeing this piece. Warm-up act Cold Blood got a big jump in popularity in early 1969 when Bill Graham auditioned them and they played the Fillmore West in San Francisco (it was Janis Joplin who had recommended their audition to him). He recognized the potential of singer Lydia Pense's voice along with the sound of the band and immediately signed them to his new San Francisco Records label. They soon became one of the most popular high energy bands in the Bay Area, led by the girl with a huge voice whose powerful vocal chops were impossible to ignore. The band was often compared to another popular group called Tower of Power because they also featured a horn section in addition to guitar, bass and drums when playing their own brand of funky soul which came to be know as East Bay Grease. The group's original drummer Sandy McKee has been mentioned by Narada Michael Walden as one of the people who were most influential in his own stylistic development. Birth might have been a band from the surrounding area.

Handbill

Monterey Peninsula College Gymnasium, Monterey, CA July 19, 1969

Artists: Katherine Harlow and Bob Divale (photo)

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: In the late 1960s, Bill Graham was trying to expand his concert business into band management, two record labels and a talent agency. So it was common to see several of the bands under his guidance playing together on any given show. His Millard Talent Agency was giving a lot of opportunity to rising groups such as the Grateful Dead, Santana, It's A Beautiful Day, Elvin Bishop, Aum, Cold Blood and others who were trying to hit it big. One of those was Sanpaku, a Sacramento based seven piece jazz rock band that had gotten together in the summer of 1968 and was considered one of the best bands in the area. Near the end of that year the group had landed a Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore West and their performance was impressive enough that Bill Graham, upon discovering that they had no manager, immediately volunteered his organization’s booking and management services. At that point they began playing the ballrooms of Northern California supporting many of the major groups of the time. Then shortly before this concert they added another member, singer and conguero Rico Reyes. Reyes had been part of the Santana crowd, providing some vocals and percussion when he appeared as a guest on the Abraxas, Santana III and Caravanserai albums as well as receiving a writing credit on 'Guajira'. When Sanpaku broke up the following year he would eventually become part of the band Azteca in the early 1970s. Opening act Fritz featured bassist Lindsey Buckingham and Stephanie (Stevie) Nicks who both went on to later fame in Fleetwood Mac. This concert was held at the Monterey Peninsula College gym, which was a modest sized venue holding approximately 2,000 people in a festival seating arrangement.

Poster

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, CA September 26, 1969

Artist: Vargas

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Santana was headlining concerts about half the time at this point in their career. Taj Mahal, a blues artist (who's still performing and recording today), had already released three albums in '68 and '69. His work of the 1970's would begin incorporating West Indian, Caribbean, jazz and reggae into the mix. Meanwhile, Elvin Bishop had left the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1968 to start his own group. Soon after that he also performed on the album titled "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper" along with Carlos, who was making his first recorded appearance.

Handbill

Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA September 27, 1969

Artist: S. Bertolli

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Reflecting the 'hippie type' art of the time, this 50 year old poster grabs your attention with it's bright colors. Notice the pink and green flowers floating gently downward towards the speckled mushroom-like date below. The main focus of the piece is the drawing itself, which dominates the poster and can spark some interesting conversation. A nude woman with an enormous Afro grasps between her fingers what appears to be either: a) The tip of big blue balloon she just blew up (with the opening acts advertised on the side). b) The handle of huge magnifying glass. c) A marijuana pipe's stem, attached to a gigantic bowl into which we are peering from our bird's-eye view. Looking inside we see a brilliant red sun as it sets over the tree lined banks of a slowly meandering stream. The expression on her face suggests 'c' as the correct answer, but you might be able to come up with a few other ideas of your own as you study it further. It's A Beautiful Day had released their first album just three months earlier. A classic poster from the early days of the Santana legacy which includes Carlos's message and signature just below the band name.

Poster

Grape Workers Strike Benefit. Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA October 1, 1969

Artist: Lee Conklin

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: This significant poster advertises a benefit concert for the Grape Workers Strike – a historic battle between the exploited Latino and Filipino farm workers and the growers who owned the California grape farms. For the first time in American history the farm workers started a protest strike, led by Cesar Chavez from the United Farm Workers Union. It was a protest over concerns about wages and protection from pesticides and it lasted nearly five years, during which the growers used threats, guns and intimidation in an effort to stop the strike. But in the end the farm workers won the hearts of the American public and millions of consumers stopped buying grapes, forcing the growers to sign a contract allowing workers better pay and protections. This benefit concert took place in late 1969, and artist Lee Conklin cleverly incorporated the United Farm Workers logo of a majestic eagle into the illustration. Some of Conklin's earliest art influences had been created by masters of pen and ink drawings and throughout his career he continually developed his own style of intricate detail using both graphics and calligraphy. After seeing articles featuring Wes Wilson's poster art, he was inspired to visit San Francisco and show his art to Bill Graham. Graham soon commissioned him to make posters and he produced 31 original designs for the Fillmore between 1968 and 1969. What began as a personal challenge to disguise images within images and lettering soon turned into a concentrated effort to turn every single letter and figure into another form, stretching the imagination to new limits. In this piece the band’s names emanate from the heat waves of the sun while the eagle’s body is created from over two hundred faces rising up from the ground, symbolizing the workers rising up against the unfair conditions they'd been forced to labor under. Within the clouds are the dates, time and ticket price of the benefit and the concert title at the bottom is made from blades of grass.

Poster

California State University Gym, Hayward, CA October 9, 1969

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Funded and presented by the Associated Students of Cal State, this concert was promoted as "A Sendoff Party for Santana” and the laughing clown near the bottom holds a banner telling you so. They would be leaving on a cross country tour taking them through the Midwest on their way to New York for a TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and two gigs at the Fillmore East. The band had now reached a point where their name was becoming more known outside of California due to their Woodstock appearance two months earlier followed by the release of the first album. Most of their November dates would have them playing in different cities around the East Coast before they headed back across the Midwest doing a few more shows, eventually making stops in some Southwestern states as they got closer to home again. It's notable that even though they had done an East Coast tour back in August this would be the Santana band's longest multi-state tour away from their home turf and on several nights they were the headlining act. For this particular show all three bands were under Bill Graham's umbrella of companies in one way or another with Santana at the forefront and Cold Blood just weeks away from releasing their own first Lp produced by David Rubinson. Country Weather, a group originally known as The Virtues, had changed their name a few years earlier at the suggestion of music promoter Chet Helms who then encouraged them to start writing and playing their own music. Although they recorded a five song promotional demo in 1969 they never managed to sign with a major record label but the band (sometimes described as psychedelic cowboys) was always well received at their live concerts with set lists that had no musical boundaries, playing everything from Psychedelic to Country to Blues to Rock. In 2005 a double album featuring those five demo songs along with previously unreleased live recordings and a studio session from 1971 finally came out on an independant label.

Small Poster

Exhibit Hall, Convention Center, Fresno, CA October 10, 1969

Artists: Casey and Mercer

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: As was often the case back in the day, the artwork rarely had anything to do with the bands advertised. It was more of a showcase for the artist to exhibit his work or vision to a wider audience. Here is a good example of that. Is this drawing revealing the artists’ own S&M fantasy? At the top of the magenta colored handbill are two winged guardians armed with bows and arrows, keeping intruders away from the bizarre activity below. It appears that two blond, muscular naked demons with whips and sunglasses are herding a group of naked dark haired men in chains along the path of a downward spiraling road that leads to...hell? What type of unspeakable acts await them there? A pair of flying hands hovers above, ready in case of an escape attempt. The huge egg-type object in the center has a crack from which a second twisted road emerges and meanwhile the mountain face seems oblivious to it all. An unusual piece of artwork to promote a concert to say the least. Snail formed in 1967 and became somewhat of a local legend in the Santa Cruz/San Jose area. Similiar to the supergroup Cream, they were basically a power trio until 1969 when they added a second guitarist. Their break came more than a year later when a few of their performances impressed promoter Bill Graham, who saw potential in the group and thought they could score a record deal. He offered to record some demos for them, and according to one of the band's webpages their first session was in 1971 at Columbia Studios with engineer Fred Catero, while Santana was in the other room recording what would become its third album. Opening group Black Ghost was a local Fresno band.

Small Poster

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA December 31, 1969

Artist: Bonnie McLean Graham

Reference: BG 209

Dick Dixon: During the early days of the Fillmore, a lady named Bonnie MacLean would take tickets, pass out handbills, blow up balloons, and draw the names of bands on the “coming attractions” chalkboard inside. Impressed with her lettering skill on the chalkboards, Bill Graham surprised her with an easel and art supplies for Christmas 1967 and MacLean's poster artist career was launched. Untrained in graphic arts, MacLean's early style evolved into ornate, Medieval-Gothic designs. Faces in her posters wore trance-like stares, steady and serene, and evoke the detached spirituality of the sixties. In an interview from the 1992 book "Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out", Bill recalled the first time he met Bonnie: “An employment agency sent over a young woman named Bonnie MacLean that I interviewed. They called me up afterward and said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, No, no, she won’t do.” Then Ms. MacLean herself called Mr. Graham, and he confessed to her that what had put him off was that she had been wearing “the ugliest chartreuse coat I ever saw in my whole life.” He gave her another chance, hired her, then started dating her. After living together they married in 1967 and she created 32 posters in the four years that followed. Traditional symbols of peace and love are obvious in this particular design that advertised different billings at the Fillmore West and Winterland for New Years Eve. Artist Bonnie Maclean Graham passed away in 2020 at age 80.

Poster

Grateful Dead Benefit. Winterland, San Francisco, CA February 23, 1970

Artist: Randy Tuten

Reference: BG 222

Dick Dixon: These handbills (there are also posters) were designed for a benefit show to help out the Grateful Dead after they got busted for drug possession in New Orleans. Suspiciously, when the Dead had arrived at the airport earlier that day they were given the name of a lawyer 'just in case anything happened', and later at the hotel Jerry Garcia was warned to stay clean because a raid was likley. Legend has it that after playing a gig well into the wee hours of the morning the band returned to their hotel at 3:00am to find the police waiting for them in their rooms, with a variety of drugs that had been confiscated during a search. No drugs were found on any of the bandmembers. It's assumed they had been set up by the cops themselves because city officials didn't want their town to become the next Haight-Ashbury. Most of the charges against the band were eventually dropped. For the artwork Randy Tuten chose to depict their dilemma as a court jester with a skull face (skulls being a Grateful Dead theme) wearing a ball and chain. It's a striking image, brightly colored with a red & orange color scheme. The alternate version was done without colors and only a small number of those were made. Supposedly they were delivered to Mickey Hart's father who was managing the Dead at the time, but the majority of them simply vanished.

Handbill (color version)
Handbill (monochrome version)

Waikiki Shell Theatre, Honolulu, Oahu, HI May 22-23, 1970

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: This piece is from Bill Graham's personal collection and shows damage from the May 7, 1985 firebombing of his San Francisco office. Behind the office was a separate space that doubled as an archival room where he kept thousands of pieces of memorabilia including posters, handbills and other personal mementos. The firebombing was thought to be in retaliation to Grahams open criticism of President Reagan's visit to Bitburg Cemetery which had been published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Luckily many of the pieces survived with varying degrees of damage. This handbill has some browning caused by the intense heat along the top and right side edges as well as some spotting throughout, possibly due to water damage. I've personally seen one other copy of this that was in much worse condition.

Small Poster

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA September 10-11-12-13, 1970

Artist: Norman Orr

Reference: BG 248

Dick Dixon: Back in the late 60s and into the 70s poster artists used skill and imagination in their work until concert promoters realized it might be more economical to bypass the artist and instead use photos to promote many of the shows. But before that happened this truly fine piece was created by artist Norman Orr and was the very first poster he did for Bill Graham. He did a total of twelve more before going into private business as a graphic designer and then a successful furniture designer/maker. Orr's style of art was characterized by it's precision and he would always strive for a degree of realism in his drawings. This one advertised a four day series of shows at the Fillmore West featuring Santana with Dr. John, the flamboyant New Orleans funk musician, along with soulful bluesman Luther Allison who had performed at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival the previous month. As you can see there is a lot going on here, with a great amount of detail in both the lettering and imagery. The poster seems to depict Santana's music at the time - tribal, dangerous, ferocious. And there are so many images to discover once you look past the central vision of the pouncing tiger. Multiple snakes, skulls and stars are hidden in plain sight throughout the piece. Three drummers pound out a hypnotic rhythm, summoning a variety of jungle animals to gather behind them. Elsewhere you’ll find a heart, horseshoe, lightning bolt, infinity symbol and more. The Santana name appears twice. I have read that either Carlos or one of the people representing the band bought the original artwork after the shows were done.

Poster

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ September 19, 1970

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: I really like this poster done in the style of the old Wanted posters from the days of the 'Wild West'. Nice images of the band members at that time as well. Although no credit is given for the design, this poster was produced by the leading printer of concert posters during the vibrant music scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tea Lautrec Litho (originally called T. Lautrec, but later changed to Tea, 'Tea' being an old slang term for marijuana) had also printed every Bill Graham concert poster between 1967 and 1971, more than 200 in all. A few days after this show Santana’s second Lp would be released and they had pretty much been playing the whole album live in the months leading up to this night, sometimes throwing in a few songs from their first Lp along with some unreleased ones like Gumbo and Conquistador Rides Again. Country Joe and the Fish (most famous for their appearance at Woodstock) played second, and I wrote a small bit about them on the Nov. 3, 1968 handbill synopsis. The night's opener was Bread, one of the most popular pop groups of the early '70s with a string of radio hits between 1970 and 1972. By the time they appeared at this concert their second album had been released and they were celebrating a number one song called “Make It With You.”

Poster

The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival. Casino De Montreux, Montreux, Switzerland May 1, 1971

Artist: P. Krieger

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Many of the Super Pop concerts were held in the afternoons because the city of Montreux wanted to keep the youngsters off the streets and drugs while they were ditching school. It had the opposite consequences as you can imagine. Show opener Terry Reid was fairly well known at the time and had also been an opening act for groups like Cream and the Rolling Stones. At one point he had been invited to join a new group Jimmy Page was putting together, but other commitments led him to suggest Robert Plant take his place instead. Folk blues singer/guitarist Karen Dalton had previously played alongside musicians like Bob Dylan and Tim Hardin. Just seven months after these shows, the venue caught fire and burnt down when an audience member shot off a flare gun during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert. That incident was immortalized in the song Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.

Small Poster

Kentucky Fair And Exposition Center, Louisville, KY June 10, 1971

Artists: Randy Tuten and Joan Chase (photo)

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: The simplicity of this poster actually required a bit more thought in the design process than is obvious at first glance. Similar to a child's maze, it's entirely possible to trace a path around the lettering (excluding the 8pm starting time) while staying within the thin white border and without having to lift your pencil from the paper. It's not necessary to circle each letter completely and you'll have to retrace your path at some points, but it can be done. The photo credit belongs to Joan Chase, who also shot the photos for the inside covers of Abraxas and the 3rd Santana Lp. The picture used here reveals what some fans think of as the original Santana band but the group had already gone through a number of personnel changes by this point, having had no less than 17 people involved in various combinations. The unique lettering concept came from Randy Tuten, one of the premier concert poster artists during San Francisco's psychedelic era. His work was constantly in demand and by the time Bill Graham closed the Fillmore West in June 1971 he had designed 31 of the posters for that venue. His talents were so appreciated that Tuten was asked to re-letter the logo for Santana's Abraxas album. Later he composed the photo collage for the inside cover of their Welcome album, and it was his idea to arrange the blue butterfly wings into a pattern for Borboletta. He also designed several mid 70s Santana concert posters and collaborated with David Singer to do the cover for the Festival Lp. Tuten once said of his own work: "There really isn't any heavy meaning in my posters. What I did graphically was a combination of what I liked and what fit."

Poster

Henry Levitt Arena, Wichita, KS February 6, 1973

Artist: Charp Latta

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Looking psychedelic even without the colors, this design by Charp Latta captures the mood of the early 70s. A long haired guitarist wearing bellbottoms (kind of resembles Carlos from the Abraxas album photos maybe?) with lightning strikes and a blazing sun in the background. This could've looked amazing had it actually been done in color. The arena was built in 1953 and was considered ahead of its time because of its circular design, which gave nearly every fan an unobstructed view and put the seats very close to the action. Concert promoter Barry Fey (Feyline) was best known for bringing big name music acts to the United States for the first time. In 1968 he promoted Led Zeppelin's first U.S. show and then in 1969 presented the three day Denver Pop Festival, which featured the final performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Small Poster

Sports Arena, Toledo, OH March 17, 1973

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: From 1947 through 2007 when it was demolished, the Toledo Sports Arena hosted everyone from Elvis to Rush and was the place to play for bands making a stop in Ohio. The downside was that during the 70s summertime temps inside the arena could sometimes reach over 100°. Opening act on this night was Bobby Womack, who in 1969 had gotten together with Gábor Szabó and penned the instrumental “Breezin”, which later became a hit for George Benson. Throughout his 60 year career Bobby was a very productive singer, songwriter and collaborator with musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Patti LaBelle, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison and too many more to mention here. Santana even did a live cover of his “Save The Children” on their 1991 tour which (I’m guessing) was brought in by new lead singer Tony Lindsay.

Poster

Plaza De Toros Monumental, Maracaibo, Venezuela October 5-6, 1973

Artists: Marquelis and Jose Alberto

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Santana embarked on a nearly month long tour of South America in 1973, and this poster created by Marquelis and Jose Alberto announced two out of three shows that were held in Venezuela. Promoted as Tranquilo Primer Festival A Color (Calm First Festival In Color) the first show in Maracaibo was broadcast live on Venezuelan Radio Capital, occuring at a bull fighting stadium with a reported 12,000 people in attendance. At one point Carlos came out to play two songs with the opening band Guaco, and their use of a percussion instrument called the furruco (friction drum) so intrigued Michael Shrieve that he ended up bringing several home at the end of the tour. The following night's show in Valencia was also held at a bullring, said to be the second largest in the world, and it drew an estimated crowd of 35,000. Unfortunately this second night did not go as smoothly as the first. When the local opening band was unable to play their set Santana then stepped up to perform close to four hours after being asked by the promoters to start with some of their latin hits like Oye Como Va to keep the audience happy. But in spite of the music there were problems throughout the night caused in part by some serious drug abuse happening within the crowd. Impulsive behaviors continued to escalate and would eventually result in numerous violent outbursts and rape. Tragically, in what must have been a drug induced state, a nineteen year old student died after jumping from a height of over 60 feet while screaming "I am the dove of peace!" It was reported a few days later that 30 of the concert goers had suffered injuries and a total of 130 people had been arrested. Upon completing five weeks of shows this became one of the first, if not the very first, tours of Latin America by a major rock act and portions of it were filmed for a documentary called Santana en Colores (1973).

Poster

Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria November 30, 1973

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Scarce and difficult to find these days is this concert poster advertising what some consider a legendary Santana band lineup at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria on the 30th of November 1973. Although it's somewhat plain in appearance, it still commands attention using a bright orange background with bold black letters. There is also a larger version of this poster which uses a different style of lettering through the midsection. During the entire tour this year the setlist leaned heavily on songs from Caravanserai and the yet to be released Lotus, with only a few of their well known hits being played each night. 'Welcome', Santana’s fifth studio album had been released earlier in the month and delved even further into the genre of jazz-fusion that the Caravanserai album had begun, but this time used a different core lineup along with multiple guest musicians. Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon had left the band to form Journey, now replaced by new members Tom Coster, Richard Kermode and Leon Thomas. And among the guests appearing on the recording were guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Alice Coltrane and Flora Purim, who contributed vocals. Perhaps because it was such a radical change in sound from the first three albums and even more experimental in nature than Caravanserai, this album did not produce any radio friendly hit singles. Even so, It was and still is a favorite time period in the band’s history for a lot of fans.

Poster

Nippon Budōkan, Tokyo, Japan December 9-10, 1974

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Coming soon...

Poster

Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI May 25, 1975

Artist: Gary Grimshaw

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Rock concerts filling big stadiums became popular from the mid-70s through the 80s and Rynearson Stadium was Michigan's big venue. It was built in 1969 with seating for 15,000 and mainly used for football games, but by the time Santana played here almost five years later, the seating had been increased to 22,000. Artist for this piece Gary Grimshaw started his career in Detroit, Michigan and produced countless posters for the Grande Ballroom as well as political art and album covers. He traveled frequently between the Detroit area and San Francisco while constantly creating posters and contributing his artwork to underground newspapers in both areas. His brightly colored poster created for this show advertised it as a Summer Celebration in the open air. The relatively unknown supporting act Peter Frampton had actually been paying his dues since the 60s, playing with groups like Humble Pie and doing session work with stars like George Harrison and Jerry Lee Lewis. He was just a year away from achieving phenomenal worldwide success with his Frampton Comes Alive! album when he appeared here with his group Framptons Camel. Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd had just released it's third Lp and their first to reach the top 10. Sadly, just two years later a plane on which they were traveling would crash, killing three of the band members.

Poster

Circus Krone, Munich, Germany October 7, 1975

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Near the end of their 1975 European tour together this concert showed the contrast between two very different bands, starting with disco/funk/jazz group Earth, Wind and Fire who opened the show. EWF had already released their hit album “That’s the Way of the World" earlier in the year and were considered an energetic dance band with horn driven songs and a 'get up outta your seat' vibe. But even though they were massively successful in the USA and had their eighth album coming out a month after this concert, the band was less popular in the UK at the time. That would change after this tour as they became known for putting on a big show with lots of people on stage, and an unforgettable revolving drum kit! For the always popular Santana, this tour came between their sixth album “Borboletta” and their seventh “Amigos”. As had happened several other times during the tour, on this particular night both bands were playing two shows each and Santana most certainly had to be on top of their game with such a strong opening act. And as usual Carlos and the band rose to the occasion playing crowd favorites like Black Magic Woman, Samba Pa Ti and Soul Sacrifice while teasing the audience with a few songs from their next album. Promoting the two shows is a striking poster in black with a center image that is actually a partial section lifted from a 1970 poster done by Norman Orr (probably without his permission). Oddly, the three conga players that were standing in front of the elephants in that original poster have been mysteriously erased. Faces of the Santana band members are then balanced on each side of this image. And in a very clever design below, the nine members of EWF are shown in front of the 'Earth', with flying birds above them in the 'Wind', while all are captured within a circle of 'Fire'.

Poster

St. Jacobshalle, Basel, Switzerland October 8, 1975

Artist: Peter Blumer

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: This poster by Swiss artist Peter Blumer advertised Santana at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland with Earth, Wind and Fire as their special guests. By this time Santana was touring in support of their sixth studio album Borboletta (which in Portuguese means “butterfly”) released in October 1974 and produced by Carlos, Michael Shrieve and Tom Coster. The album cover was done in a metallic blue displaying a single butterfly surrounded by arranged patterns of loose butterfly wings (an idea created by Randy Tuten) and was quite possibly inspired by the album Butterfly Dreams by Brazilian musician Flora Purim and her husband Airto Moreira, whose contributions deeply influenced the sound of Borboletta. Near the end of the record’s completion drummer Michael Shrieve became ill and was replaced by Leon “Ndugu” Chancler for the upcoming tour. Original bassist David Brown returned to replace Doug Rauch and then vocalist/keyboardist Leon Patillo, who had previously been with Martha and the Vandellas and an early version of Funkadelic, now joined the band. It was on this European tour that the group made their first appearance behind what was then called the Iron Curtain by playing two shows in Yugoslavia on October 4th & 5th, 1975...

Poster

Day On The Green. Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA June 5, 1976

Artist: Randy Tuten

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Boz Scaggs the headline act over Santana? Well, yes he was. He actually replaced Jefferson Starship who was originally scheduled to be the main attraction of the day but ended up not playing. One reason why Boz might have been chosen over Santana might be due to his quickly rising radio popularity at the time, while Santana had basically been in a 4 year drought as far as getting any new singles on the charts since 1972's No One To Depend On. A few months before this concert occurred both bands had released their seventh albums, Silk Degrees and Amigos respectively. Silk Degrees produced four hit singles including 'Lowdown', which would go on to win a Grammy for best R&B song of 1976. The song itself peaked at #3 on the Billboard chart and the album would peak at #2, spending 115 weeks in the Top 200. Meanwhile there were high hopes for Amigos, which introduced new singer Greg Walker to the band and was the last album to include original bassist David Brown. Unfortunately, the only single from the album 'Let It Shine' peaked at a disappointing #78 just one day before this concert while the album reached #8 and then faded away after only 16 weeks. The band had better luck overseas where 'Europa' was released as a single and became a Top 10 hit in several countries.

Poster

Memorial Gymnasium, Kent State University, Kent, OH October 7, 1978

Artist: John Curran

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: In the early days when someone spoke of Santana, be it a record or live concert, the name represented the whole band as a unit. But as the years went by it gradually came to most represent Carlos himself. Visually, it first started happening when he would occasionally be the only one pictured on the posters or handbills without the rest of the group. But eventually that would become the standard protocol. Perhaps it was because of the ever-changing band members. Or maybe because the promoters knew when Santana was coming to town people wanted to see and hear the man who could make a guitar cry. The focus was clearly on Carlos the man. In October 1978, the Inner Secrets album came out displaying a cover shot of the band but Carlos stood slightly apart, separated from the rest. It would be the last Santana album where anybody other than Carlos would be on the front cover. The band was now Raul Rekow, Greg Walker, Graham Lear, Pete Escovedo, David Margen and Armando Peraza along with newest members Chris Solberg and Chris Rhyne who had been added in June. The album itself might have been a bit of a disappointment to fans who were hoping for more of the earthy rhythms that had been restarted with Amigos, or others who were still hungry for the jazz oriented explorations that Carlos embraced on several of the previous albums. Columbia Records would let him get back to that on his upcoming solo and band projects, but for this album they very strongly wanted some singles on the radio to help push record sales so the hitmaking team of Lambert & Potter were hired to produce the Lp. The duo brought one of the songs they had co-written called "One Chain (Don’t Make No Prison)" which had first been a single for the group People in 1970, and then a second time for The Four Tops in 1974. Would Santana make it a three time hit on the radio? It made it to #59 on the pop charts but oddly it wasn’t the cut from the original album, it was an alternate disco single version that clocked in at nearly one minute longer. It’s this version that was included on most of the CDs released in the mid 80’s. Two other cover songs on the album also got some radio play: "Well All Right" (Buddy Holly) and "Stormy" (Classics IV). The band was near the end of it’s U.S. tour when it made a stop here at Kent State University. This was the site that garnered unwanted notoriety eight years earlier when National Guard soldiers fired approximately 67 bullets in 13 seconds, killing four university students and wounding nine others. The students had been unarmed and were protesting President Nixon's bombing of Cambodia. Within weeks the tragic event was recounted in a song written and released by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young called "Ohio". Kent State went on to become the largest university promoter of rock and roll shows in the country and hosted major acts such as Santana, the Eagles, Earth, Wind and Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and others. But by the time Santana returned for this show in 1978 most of the big name concerts were being held 90 minutes away at the recently built Richmond Coliseum, whose capacity was three times bigger than Kent's Memorial Gym.

Poster

German Tour June-July 1980

Artist: John Paul Jones

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: A striking image lifted from the Marathon album adorns this poster for a series of shows that were played from mid June through the beginning of July 1980. It was created by a relatively unknown artist named John Paul Jones who had previously worked on the 'Moonflower' and 'Oneness; Silver Dreams, Golden Reality' albums, and would later also do the work on 'Zebop'. During a short interview he was once asked about his inspiration and method for the album art. "In 1979 Carlos Santana gave me some pictures of classical Greek urns that had runners as their motif. He asked me to develop a design for his next album, 'Marathon'. He then told me that Tony Lane, the great art director at CBS and of Fantasy Records fame also wanted to design 'Marathon' and was developing a concept for the album at the same time as myself. To create my image, I used three slide projectors, a slide of the runners urn, and a slide I shot in my fireplace which I duplicated and flipped for projection. I saw wings immediately in the flames, those Harley-Davidson kind of wings. Then I saw the double image that I was looking for. I was hoping to find a double image as an homage to the first Santana album cover loved by so many. I then cropped and traced the images for position. When Tony Lane placed my design next to the one he had already developed, he looked at me and said "%¥#! you, John Paul," and I knew he loved it." As for the Marathon album itself, some critics felt this was the beginning of Santana's second commercial slide and some of the reviews were quite harsh: "...terrible, terrible lyrics on top of melodies straight out of empowering volleyball commercials on what is essentially a washed-up disco-funk record. It's brimful with pedestrian pop choruses, awful instrumentation and synths overall. And frankly the guitar sounds lost, limp and assimilated in this context." Bad reviews aside, the album was notable for consisting entirely of band-written material which continued in the R&B/rock style that had started evolving on albums like Amigos, Festival, and Inner Secrets. But even with a Top 40 hit in "You Know That I Love You" which reached #35, Marathon became the first Santana album to not immediately surpass the 500,000 sales mark necessary for gold record certification (although it eventually did). On a positive note, the one song that most critics and fans seemed to agree upon as a standout was the instrumental "Aqua Marine".

Poster

Kalvøyafestivalen. Bærum, Norway June 29, 1980

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Kalvøyafestivalen was a Norwegian music festival held at Kalvøya in Bærum which is near Oslo, Norway. The idea for the festival came from a few people connected to a folk club called Hades, located at the art center on Høvikodden. The yearly festival itself was then started by Sten Randers Fredriksen in 1971 and officially ended in 1998. The following paragraph is an eyewitness account pertaining to Santana that was posted on the Festival's facebook page by Erland Bekkelund:

"In 1980 Santana came to the Kolvoya Festival in a limousine and leather boots. It had rained for several days. The day the festival was held, the calf island lawn had had enough and it became a little difficult to get out with dry shoes to tell the truth. The limousine the band sat in got stuck and they had to walk in between the audience the last bit before they got on stage. They opened the concert optimistically with 'Lightning In The Sky' from the album Marathon. Speaking of marathons, he had actually planned a jogging trip from Oslo to Sandvika with the audience and all but the weather put an end to it."

Poster

Sports Stadium, Albuquerque, NM August 31, 1980

Artist: Jim Pinkoski

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Here's another big stadium show where Santana topped the lineup over three opening acts. Sammy Hagar's career began as lead singer on the first two Montrose albums until band leader Ronnie Montrose fired him during a 1975 European tour claiming Sammy was already “getting into his own thing.” Hagar would continue on as a successful solo artist, becoming more well known than the band he was ousted from and releasing six albums by the time this event took place. One interesting note: in 1983 he put together short-lived project known as HSAS - Hagar Schon Aronson Shrieve (yes, that’s Santana alumni Neil Schon and Michael Shrieve). Within a year's time they did a very short California tour and one album before ending the project. Ex-cop turned singer-songwriter Eddie Money had been playing Bay Area nightclubs for nearly a decade when he was discovered by Bill Graham who then signed Eddie to his own Wolfgang Records, a subsidiary of the Columbia Records label. Released in December 1977, Money's first album was pretty much a studio version of his live shows at the time, nearly all original songs that he and the band had written and perfected during their performances around the Bay. By February of 1978 Eddie began opening shows for Santana in an arrangement that would continue off and on over the next year and a half while sending him on tour around the world. Two of his biggest hits “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” were still getting plenty of air play and his third album arrived in stores a month before this concert. Gamma was the group formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose after breaking up his namesake band and putting out one solo record. I believe this was the first time he and former bandmate Sammy Hagar had seen each other since their falling out during that European tour a few years earlier. Gamma had a more progressive rock sound and was more radio friendly than Montrose had been, using a lot of the latest keyboard technology that was popular at the time. The band's debut Lp came out in 1979, and their second album was released just prior to this show. As for the colorful poster? No doubt the inspiration came from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta which has been a yearly event since 1972 and is the largest balloon festival in the world. It was drawn by Jim Pinkoski, an artist who created posters promoting 60s, 70s and a few early 80s music concerts. He 'came back to Christianity' in 1984 while living in San Francisco and in 1986 turned his attention to writing and illustrating a series of Christian comic books. As far as I know this could be one of the last concert posters he did as I have not seen anything by him after this date.

Poster
Handbill

Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA February 22, 1981

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: A very cool poster with a dragon and a winding road leading to a distant castle under an eclipsing moon. I have no info about the special guest or the poster artist, but here is a review of the concert from the University’s newspaper: Who says Cal Poly doesn’t attract rock ‘n’ roll stars? Devadip (his spiritual name) Carlos Santana 'bodysurfed' his way into the Cal Poly main gym Sunday night on the crest of a tidal wave, devastating the student populous with his Latin-rock jazz. "Bodysurfing", a new song played in the middle of the set, was composed by Santana after a trip to the Caribbean in December. The song combined the stinging Latin rock that characterizes the group’s first albums (Santana, Abraxas) with effortless melodic guitar work. The sum was a truly Santana experience. Carlos directed his way through 2 hours and 45 minutes of nonstop energetic rock, waving and gesturing his band through their extensive repertoire. From the outset the group never let up, winding their way from "All I Ever Wanted" through "Black Magic Woman" and "Dealer", which featured the improvising Carlos on his guitar. The band, formed by Carlos in San Francisco’s Mission district in 1969, featured an uncompromising percussion section. The newest member of the band, Orestes Vilato, a percussionist who hails from the New York City Latin music scene, rambled violently on the timbales (kettledrum) providing the backbone for Santana’s continuous beat. Bassist David Margen, who joined the band four years ago, provided a lively jazzy-type solo while other members took a water break. His rendition, coupled with the numerous percussion interludes, provided a perfect balance with Carlos’ flawless licks. Carlos opened his encore to a stage front packed with exuberant fans pushing their way through the ushers. The first song, "She’s Not There" from the Moonflower album, ignited the crowd as people began to dance and clap wildly, exhibiting some of the previous behavior seen at Elvis Costello. Sweat could be seen on everyone’s mug as the heat intensified through the final song "Transcendence."

Poster

The Welsh Auditorium, Grand Rapids, MI May 30, 1985

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Originally called the Civic Auditorium when built in the early 1930's this venue became the Welsh Auditorium from 1975 until 2003, when it's time came to an end and the building was demolished. Among the wide variety of musical entertainment that played there during it's long history were artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and Muddy Waters to Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead and Journey. Santana's 'Beyond Appearances' album had hit the streets just three months before this show and unfortunately would not be that successful - only reaching #50 on the Billboard charts, while the single "Say It Again" reached #46. A quick look through the Santanamigos 1985 Tour page reveals that a typical setlist during this time had them frequently playing more than half the album on any given night. Quite often they would also include "Two Points Of View" (not on the album but later added to the CD release), a catchy tune with Greg Walker and Alex Ligertwood exchanging vocals. It was the first tour where the band was using two lead vocalists and the third time they added an additional keyboardist in the form of Sterling Crew, who had joined the tour in April to share those duties with Chester Thompson...

Poster

20th Anniversary Celebration. Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA August 17, 1986

Artist: David Singer

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Early in his career David Singer wasn't interested in making posters but had put together a portfolio of collages he shopped around to various companies that he hoped could be used as ​“greeting cards or something” in his own words. As fate would have it his work was rejected by most of the publishers in San Francisco before grabbing the attention of Bill Graham, who saw his art as a perfect tool to advertise concerts at the Fillmore. This was the era before computers changed everything in graphics and Singer's posters would become notable for his unique way of overlapping images he had collected and clipped from thousands of magazines spanning several decades. At the same time he would also develop a variety of lettering styles, using them to complement the theme or subject of each poster. He's the one person who eventually created more posters for Bill than any other artist, even after the Fillmore closed, designing a massive 75 posters from 1969 to 1990. In 1986 he was asked to make this larger than normal commemorative poster for a special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Santana, an event that saw band members both old and new coming together on one stage for one night to perform two separate concerts. To signify how quickly time had passed along with the changes that occurred both personally and musically during their first two decades he used a vintage image of Father Time dancing upon the ocean while wearing the winged foot sandal, a symbol from Roman mythology associated with speed and progress. Also figuring prominently is the orange poppy flower symbolizing both imagination and regeneration. It's all set against a bright red background and the shoreline of a warm, sandy beach. This one is signed in silver ink by the artist.

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Mountain Aire II Festival. Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Angel's Camp, CA August 22-23, 1987

Artist: Frank Vastano

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Angels Camp, California. Mark Twain based his tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" on a story he heard while visiting there in 1865. And a mere 122 years later a different kind of story happened called Mountain Aire Festival ll. It was held a few days after the Harmonic Convergence, a New Age spiritual event which had occurred on August 16 and 17, 1987 (where groups of people gathered in various sacred sites and mystical places all over the world to bring global awakening through divine transformation.) A festival attendee's memory of the concert follows: "David Lindley and his legendary band El Rayo X opened. With 90° heat Mr. Dave in his finest polyester announced that he was playing with the best drummer he had ever performed with in his life. At first I laughed, and then they ripped into a fire blazing "Crazy 'Bout a Mercury." What followed Dave's segment would be a nearly three hour scorching set by Santana. The heat, the planes, the ambulances, the parachuting acrobats, the dust, Jerry on a golf cart, and Bill Graham rushing around on his scooter desperately attempting to escort a carload of freaked out suits while threatening to 86 anyone who looked at him funny. There was no escape, we were in it for the full ride. The Dead didn't hit the stage until well after the sun had gone down. The blazing afternoon gave way to Jerry's incredible way of connecting to the song "Friend of the Devil" that seemed to put in context all we had been through leading up to that magical weekend. Damn, what a great time to be young." But after being overrun by more than 30,000 people during the two day concert, the city of Angels Camp discontinued the festival for a full decade. When it was finally brought back in 1998 more security was added and there were limits on the crowd size allowed for this event.

Small Poster

Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin, TX July 4, 1991

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: There is no available info about this show and it's not listed on the Santana website (which sometimes occurs). But it most likely happened since they had a few days before starting their European tour, and would have played just a short set early in the afternoon. They followed the Arc Angels, a Texas band featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan's former drummer and bassist. Americana/blues/country singer Delbert McClinton has been an Austin favorite for years and Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) was reported to have flown in by Learjet after playing a gig in Dallas earlier that same day. Headliner Joe Walsh was riding high with a new album and a top 10 single by the same name, "Ordinary Average Guy".

Poster

Sweetwater Bar, Mill Valley, CA October 30, 1991

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: The band played this benefit concert just five days after Bill Graham died and apparently it was only promoted by word of mouth and at the venue itself due to its small size. The location was the Sweetwater Bar which had a legal capacity of just 110 people, although I'm sure a few more might have squeezed their way into this sold out show. Arriving early in the afternoon to check the the place out, I saw that the stage area in the corner of this long but narrow room was so tiny that I seriously doubted the whole band could actually fit. I even asked the bar manager if this was going to be just a solo show and she replied that she didn't think so. Also scheduled to appear was guitar slinger Lonnie Mack who had burst onto the music scene in 1963 with an instant hit single called "Memphis", an uptempo instrumental based on Chuck Berry's tune "Memphis Tennessee". He is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of blues rock, and was supposed to open the show but his plane was late getting into San Francisco so Carlos and the band started their set early. They gave the small crowd a sneak preview of the entire Milagro album before it had even been released, with the exceptions of Your Touch & Free All The People. In place of those songs they substituted Trail Of Tears & a heartfelt rendition of I Love You Much Too Much, during which Carlos at one point turned to face a large framed picture of Bill which hung upon the wall. About midway through the night Lonnie showed up and Carlos invited him out to play Blues For Salvador and an instrumental jam. (set list from the Santana.com website is correct in this case). At one point during the evening Carlos told the soundboard man to "turn it up, if we go to jail we'll all go to jail" which brought loud applause and cheers from the crowd. By the time the album was released in 1992 the first song of the night, Nuestros Colores, had become Milagro and Swimming In Your Eyes turned into Grajonca. I snatched this small poster off the bulletin board outside the bar and was lucky enough to have Carlos sign it at the end of the night.

Small Poster

All Our Colors. Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA October 10, 1992

Artist: Michael Roman

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: In 1992 a special event was held in Mountain View, California. All Our Colors: The Good Road Concert was a Benefit for the Traditional Circle of Elders and Youth and it was part of a weekend celebration to commemorate 500 years of survival of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere. The festivities included dancing and drumming exhibitions, native foods, continous video programs, multiple artists showing their paintings, sculpture and art of all kinds, special speakers throughout the day and of course a variety of musical guests that played from early afternoon until late in the evening. In addition to the regular poster for the event, Michael Roman produced this special edition piece. Larger than most concert posters it's what’s called a Serigraph. A serigraph differs from regular printings and lithographs because no two pieces turn out completely identical. The reason for this is due to the process where different colors of ink are applied one at a time to each individual poster, and when running your hand over the poster's surface you can actually feel the different layers of ink. It's also signed and titled by the artist. The Native American depicted in the photograph is Wolf Robe (or Ho'néhevotoomáhe) who was a Southern Cheyenne chief and a holder of the Benjamin Harrison Peace Medal. During the late 1870s he was forced to leave his home on the open plains and relocate his tribe onto the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian Reservation in Indian Territory...

Serigraph

Paseo Stadium, Agana, Guam March 17, 1993

Artist: n/a

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: After finding this Santana poster from a Guam concert, I was curious about the little symbol that appears on the poster 19 times and found it is called the latte stone. The latte stone is a rock pillar topped with a hemispherical capstone and was used as a foundation for buildings, but for the early indigenous Chamorro people there was also a spiritual meaning for it as well. "Creation of the latte may have signified for the builder a connection to a particular activity of the ancient Chamorro's societal structure, a model for a sacred ritual and belief. The latte stones are thought to have been built because of the Chamorros' concept of aniti (spirit), and a passing to the next life within the protection of the latte. For this reason, the latte possibly symbolized a sacred space for the Chamorros, who buried their dead between the stones. And even though it is now used as a national symbol, the latte stones are as old as the Mayan pyramids."

Poster

Reopening of the Fillmore June 10, 1994 (release date)

Artists: Michael Rios/Tony Machado

Reference: Fillmore Corp. 122

Dick Dixon: After Bill Graham died in a helicopter crash in 1991, those close to him decided to carry out his final wish and reopen the original Fillmore. In April 1994 the Fillmore once again became a San Francisco hotspot with shows almost every night. This commemorative poster created by Michael Rios and Tony Machado was done in tribute of Bill Graham’s decades of presenting musical talent to the people and includes just a handful of legendary superstars that graced the Fillmore.

Poster

Miscellaneous 1997

Artist: Alton Kelley

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: When legendary artist Alton Kelley passed away in 2008 his work was described as giving rock music new colors, shapes, and themes expressing the optimism and enthusiasm of young people around the globe. But 40 years earlier Kelley was part of The Family Dog, a group that essentially started the San Francisco music scene by throwing psychedelic dance concerts at the Longshoreman's Hall in September of 1965. He soon began creating posters for these events and eventually became known as one of the 'Big Five' poster artists of the 60's & 70's, his work becoming so respected that several of his pieces now hang in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Collaborating with longtime friend and fellow artist Stanley Mouse, they won a Grammy Award for their cover of the Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits album and are also credited with creating the wings and beetles seen on all the Journey albums. In 1997 he was commissioned to do this Santana piece which has been numbered and autographed by himself and Carlos.

Poster

"Supernatural" Tour: USA West-Midwest-South/Canada September-October 2000

Artist: Frank Wiedemann

Reference: BG 247

Dick Dixon: Well known Bay Area artist Frank Wiedemann has been a freelance graphic artist since 1987 and some of his professional accomplishments over the years include projects like web page design, cd and album covers, logos, wine labels and t-shirts as well as designing many of the concert posters for Bill Graham Presents since the late 1990's. Educated at the Rhode Island School of Design, his posters showcase the range of his talent with their many different moods, lettering and artistic styles. Here we see his imagination on full display and it reminds one of the creativity that was happening at the height of the poster frenzy back in the late 60's and 70's. Starting with a photograph of a right hand (probably his own) he created a halo around the head of the central figure that spirals outward in shades of blue and green. The rest of the poster is made entirely of photographed leaves in various sizes and species that have been carefully arranged to fill out the background and create a border. The leafy body of a mermaid is the main feature of the image, holding her acorn topped scepter while wearing some strategically placed daisies. Finally, listed near the bottom is a handful of Western U.S.A. dates during the Supernaturnal tour, but Santana was literally all over the map in 2000. Having won a record-tying nine Grammys in February the band continued to perform concerts around the world, appeared on countless TV talk shows and was recognized with even more honors from the Billboard Music Awards, VH1 My Music Awards, 1st Annual Latin Grammy Awards, and the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards to name just a few. They even had their own TV special "A Supernatural Evening with Santana". This unparalleled success would be a turning point for the band in more ways than one, beginning with rising ticket prices and 20+ more years of predominately multi-artist collaboration albums.

Poster

Cricket Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ October 2, 2002

Artist: CDW

Reference: n:a

Dick Dixon: Arizona concert promoter Danny Zelisko was known as 'the guy' in Arizona, Las Vegas and New Mexico. He created his company, Evening Star, in 1977 and due to it’s success and reputation he had received a number of offers over the years from people eager to buy Evening Star but always turned them down. Then near the end of the 90's a company called SFX (which eventually was sold to radio conglomerate Clear Channel, who later spun off a separate division called Live Nation to handle it’s concert promotion) was starting to buy up independent promoters like Danny and put them all under one umbrella but he still resisted selling. There was also the House of Blues, which at the time was owned by Universal, and they too were talking very seriously about buying his company. SFX had recently acquired the Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, Arizona where he booked a lot of live shows over the years and they also bought up venues in other cities that Danny promoted in while they continued to make offers and buy promoters anywhere they could in an effort to become the biggest concert promoter in the country. The result of all these buyouts was that instead of being able to book three, four or five shows on a tour Evening Star was now only getting paid for maybe 1/2 of one date with the best artists, and only if the act stood up and said they wanted Danny to get a part of the concert date. In 2001 he finally relented and sold them the company. Continuing to quote Danny from his book All Excess - Occupation: Concert Promoter, "This consolidation was devastating to a guy like me. Suddenly, somebody like Santana would come to town and instead of me getting the Phoenix, Vegas, Tucson and Albuquerque dates, a promoter with corporate backing would give them 20 dates at $250,000 each and cut them $5 million checks. They did this under the condition that the artist play all their markets at all their amphitheaters. Nowadays these numbers are really light as ticket prices have risen greatly over the years. I was screwed. There was no way I could compete with this kind of thing. I had done Santana regularly year in and year out since the late 70's. Then Carlos put out the Supernatural album in 1999 and it became a huge success. This changed his career along with his whole life and I'd been there for it. Unfortunately, now I was only getting half of a date. It wasn't right. And nowadays I don't even get half a date. Although I do love Carlos, this in a word sucks." This poster was basically a prototype originally intended to be used for the upcoming concert but is conspicuously missing any promoter's name or logo. Big Corporation no longer felt the need to distribute posters throughout the city advertising concerts when nearly everything was being done online. Similarly, at this point in time the Santana organization had already begun to commission their own posters to be sold at the shows and copywrited them under the River Of Colors trademark.

Poster

"Universal Tone" Tour 2010

Artist: Dave Hunter

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Artist Dave Hunter moved to San Francisco in 1985 where he surrounded himself with many of the people who designed posters for the original Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom venues, eventually finding work as head picture framer for the Bill Graham Archives from 1988 till 1992. He was soon recognized for his own abilities and went on to create silkscreen posters for various Bay Area bands, record labels and venues as well as a who’s who of rock acts including Metallica, Gov’t Mule, Primus, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, and the Grateful Dead. He also did an occasional special project such as this piece for Santana’s 2010 Universal Tone tour. Under the Santana logo appears a lotus flower mandala which has within it an inverted triangle with three 'arms' (not sure what this signifies) and also the Om symbol. Behind this, if you look closely, are six more triangles with three of them pointing up and three of them pointing down. Making a minor inquiry as to what the meaning might be I found that a triangle can represent manifestation, enlightenment, revelation, and a higher perspective. It is often used to mark the cycles of growth that lead to a higher state of being. Spiritually, it represents a path towards enlightenment or connection to an omnipresent being. Energetically, triangles direct energy and power in the direction which they point. Beneath all of this is Carlos' guitar along with several doves in flight. Mr. Hunter was commissioned to make 600 copies of this image which were delivered to Santana management and sold at the concerts. He then created eight other variations of the image in smaller editions of 6 to 12 copies each. This particular piece was printed on cream colored paper with metallic sparkles embedded in the ink that react to light when turned at a slight angle. It was limited to only 12 copies and is numbered and signed by the artist, who sadly passed away in 2017.

Poster

Special Edition Poster Announcing Santana's House Of Blues Residency. Las Vegas, NV 2012

Artist: Adam Halverson

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Another milestone in Santana's history. Back in 2009 the band had been touted as the first ‘rock act' to have a Las Vegas residency and began a two year run at the newly renovated Joint, located in the Hard Rock Hotel. Once the contract was fulfilled Carlos was made an offer he couldn't refuse by rival hotel Mandalay Bay, who for the first time in it's 13 year history wanted to have their own superstar in residence - and they wanted the Santana band. The venue they were offering was called the House Of Blues. The new show, with the elaborate title of 'An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 2012' was booked for May, June, September and November. How this came about was explained in a Q & A session between House of Blues CEO Ron Bension and Billboard magazine in February of 2012: “We believe this will be the start of several new conversations because if it’s good enough for Carlos Santana, it’s good enough for an awful lot of people,” said Bension. He then spelled out the plan for the Santana shows and why the time was right to get into the 'artist in residence' business that other Las Vegas venues were already known for.

Billboard: When you create a schedule for something like this, where do you begin and what factors play into it when you mount the shows?

Ron Bension: "We got a commitment for two years and we worked out a schedule that works within the ebbs and flows of Vegas, conventions mostly. I think we’ve mapped out the first 20 months. We’re going up with shows to the end of this year".

How many shows to start?

"First year is a little heavier. We have 45 in the first calendar year".

When an act already has a history at another Vegas venue, how do you convey to the audience that this is a different experience?

"We can’t look at what the other guys did. It was a totally different show. Couple thousand people come into a room for 5,00 people. It’s not exciting. We are creating a different experience by creating a totally different vibe with tablecloths, candles, and a dancing area. We don’t use the word intimate lightly. This is something you just don’t get in a big box square theater".

When residencies started, the goal was to get gamblers in, create packages for tourists and build up the rack rates in rooms. Is that still in play?

"That all comes with the territory. And we’ll have that because there are customers who want it. They want to get close (to the artist) and have a different experience, celebrate a special night. Come to our venue and we will provide you with a different experience. I don’t think you can say that when you go to some random concert".

When you prepare marketing for this, will you go after locals or invest more in getting word out to non-locals?

"House of Blues probably draws more than just locals than any other venue in the marketplace. It’s because the acts are relevant today to anybody. Because it is a destination venue, we are in the feeder markets - San Diego, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco".

How long did this take to come together?

"We started talking to Carlos… I’m going to say September-ish. We had talked to his agents because we felt House of Blues provided a unique platform. Carlos fell in love with the venue. He walked into that room and said this place is cool; I was right next to him. When you see that, that’s a deal maker. You know they get it. Sure he could go play an amphitheater but this is a different vibe and I think he digs that".

How do you structure the deal? Is it a payday per concert or an overall dollar amount?

"It’s a two year run and we’ll all make a few dollars. It’s good for us because we have other places - the restaurant, the Foundation Room. If you start thinking about the entire evening you have dinner, you party at the show, then go upstairs and have one of the great nightclub experiences in town. That’s what we want and we think Carlos will help us get there".

As of 2022 what began as a two-year residency entered it's 10th year. This poster designed by artist Adam Halverson was only sold inside the House Of Blues retail store along with a matching T-shirt.

Poster

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA April 24, 2019

Artist: Lisa Eng

Reference: n/a

Dick Dixon: Artist/Designer Lisa Eng has been producing concert posters as far back as the late 90s, when she began creating a string of 32 different pieces for Bill Graham Presents to advertise shows at the Fillmore and Warfield theaters in particular. She also received type design credit along with Michael Rios' artwork on the Santana poster from April 1999. She likes to use strong, bold colors combined with intricate details in her artwork and the central image in this piece involves a flower/human hybrid. The person I obtained this from said they didn't believe this poster was made available at the merchandise booths, but was given to employees working the show only.

Poster