What a weekend to live in San Francisco. In addition to this show you had Moby Grape and Sparrow (later called Steppenwolf) and the Charlatans at the Avalon, the Jefferson Airplane and Dizzy Gillespie at the Basin Street West and Steve Miller at the Matrix! And on top of that was the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park where 30,000 hippies converged with “acid incense and balloons” to participated in a “Gathering of the Tribes.” Monday sounds like it would have been a good day to sleep in!
The Mamas and The Papas were one of the most popular groups in the country, and Bill Graham presented them this weekend at the Berkeley Community Theater, supported by Jose Feliciano and a local group called The Hard Times. The show almost never appears in lists of Bill Graham shows, probably because there was no poster for it. The show sold out quickly and a late show was added. According to Ralph Gleason's review in the Chronicle (on January 16), Jose Feliciano was late arriving, and the Hard Times were unavailable. A locally based group called The Canadian Fuzz opened both shows, but to fill in for Feliciano, the Grateful Dead played a brief set for the early show, before racing across the Bay to headline these Fillmore shows.
The Doors had played the previous weekend (with The Rascals and Sopwith Camel), and with their first album just released, were the hottest band to come out of Los Angeles. They apparently were a huge success the the first weekend, but for mysterious reasons of his own, Jim Morrison chose to spend Friday evening at a movie theater in Sacramento, watching Casablanca three times, so The Doors did not perform at the Fillmore Friday night. This stunt surely did not go down well with Bill Graham who had to offer refunds or allow people to use their ticket again one of the next nights.
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. This poster was selected to reside in the U.S. Library of Congress.