A selection of Santana posters and handbills with detailed info.
Click on images to enlarge.
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 (44 entries)
The Matrix, San Francisco, CA Nov 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 Dec 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
Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA July 30-31-Aug 1, 1968
Artist: Lee Conklin
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 Aug 27-28-29, 1968
Artist: Lee Conklin
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 Nov 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 this even happened 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 original and most popular of the San Francisco psychedelic bands at the time. They were also among the first acts to use a light show during concerts as well as self-producing records to promote themselves.
Handbill
Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA Dec 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 Dec 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 Feb 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 might possibly had begun recording on their first album. However, at this point they were pretty much unknown in Southern California even though some hip LA fans might have recognized Santana's name from the Fillmore West posters found up North. Headliner Procol Harum enjoyed the benefit of two LPs and two hit singles, 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and 'Conquistador', which gave them top billing.
Handbill
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: This was a huge event at the time but not everybody played... Radio station KSJO was warning listeners that a few of the acts advertised for the festival — particularly Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix — were not going to appear, as they were booked elsewhere at the time. This situation resulted in a lawsuit — paid for by Zeppelin — against the promoter, who retaliated by paying Hendrix $30,000, an unheard of amount at the time, to fly in by Lear Jet and play for half an hour. This handbill 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
Artist: Mercer,Casey: Mercer Studios
Reference: n/a
Dick Dixon: 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. However, art design here is credited to Mercer,Casey: Mercer Studios. But I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Conklin ended up having a few words with them after seeing this piece. Cold Blood was an R&B funk band that was started in the East Bay area of San Francisco, and 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.
Handbill
Monterey Peninsula College Gymnasium, Monterey, CA July 19, 1969
Artist: Katherine Harlow/Photograph Bob Divale
Reference: n/a
Dick Dixon: In the late 1960s, Bill Graham was trying to expand his concert business into band management, a talent agency and two record labels. His Millard Talent Agency gave a lot of opportunity to rising groups such as Sanpaku, a seven piece jazz rock band, along with the Grateful Dead, Santana, It's A Beautiful Day, Elvin Bishop, Aum, Cold Blood and others. So it was common to see several of these bands playing on the same bill together on any given night. Opening act Fritz featured bassist Lindsey Buckingham and Stephanie (Stevie) Nicks who both went on to later fame in Fleetwood Mac. A very obscure handbill.
Handbill
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, CA Sept 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 Sept 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 Oct 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 Oct 9, 1969
Artist: n/a
Reference: n/a
Dick Dixon: Funded and presented by the Associated Students at Cal State, this fun handbill was promoted as “a sendoff party for Santana.” And both of the opening bands had shared the bill with Santana at different times before this. Cold Blood first came to prominence in 1969 when Bill Graham signed them after an audition and they played the Fillmore West in San Francisco. (It was Janis Joplin who recommended the audition to Graham). They released their first LP this same year playing a style called "East Bay Grease", a term used to describe the San Francisco Bay Area's horn heavy funk-rock sound of the 1960s and 1970s, and were one of the pioneer bands of this sound. They broke up in the late 1970s but reformed again in 1988 and have continued to record and tour since then. Although the band Country Weather never signed to a major record label or released any singles or albums during their 1960s heyday, they did record a five song promotional demo in 1969 to help them get gigs such as this one. They disbanded in 1973 then reformed again in 2000, releasing their first and only full length CD in 2003.
Small Poster
Exhibit Hall, Convention Center, Fresno, CA Oct 10, 1969
Artists: Casey & 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. Black Ghost was a local Fresno band at the time and Snail was a popular favorite in the Santa Cruz area.
Small Poster
Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA Dec 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 Feb 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 Sept 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 Sept 19, 1970
Artist: n/a
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/Joan Chase (photo)
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 Feb 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
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
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 bandmembers.
Poster
St. Jacobshalle, Basel, Switzerland Oct 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
Circus Krone, Munich, Germany Oct 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
Sports Stadium, Albuquerque, NM Aug 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
Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA Feb 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
Mountain Aire II Festival. Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Angel's Camp, CA Aug 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 Oct 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 Oct 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
"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
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
© 1999-Now Santanamigos