Bill Graham organized his early concerts like a menu: in order to get the ice cream, you had to eat your vegetables. Junior Wells was Graham's choice of vegetable this January, and the Dead and The Doors were dessert. Wilson's poster has been interpreted several ways over the years: some thought the figure was menacing, but the artist insisted it was an African art-influenced portrait of a smiling old man.
The 1st printing A postcard (see BG045-1) was printed prior to the concert and models the green, red and purple design of the original poster. This version is creased from where it was folded and mailed, and it is backed with a black stamp image, a large scripted Fillmore Auditorium address, and the typed address of the intended recipient. While there are some variations in the size, it generally measures 4 1/4" x 7 1/16".
The 1st printing B postcard (see BG045-1) was also printed before the concert and displays the same green, red and purple design of the original poster, but this version was not creased and folded, and instead bears the standard postcard backing. It generally measures 4 1/4" x 7 1/16".
In 1986, Wes Wilson commissioned the 4th printing postcard. It displays the red, gold and blue of the reprint poster and measures 4 7/8" x 7 7/8".
When the Avalon Ballroom and Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium began to hold weekly dance concerts, Wilson was called upon to design the posters. He created psychedelic posters from February 1966 to May 1967, when disputes over money severed his connection with Graham. Wilson pioneered the psychedelic rock poster. Intended for a particular audience, "one that was tuned in to the psychedelic experience," his art, and especially the exaggerated freehand lettering, emerged from Wilson's own involvement with that experience and the psychedelic art of light shows.