The idea for what was to become the Cow Palace was born at the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco when the fair's huge livestock exposition proved to be one of its most popular attractions. It took years for the project to come to fruition. Originally set to be called the California State Livestock Pavilion, as the depression of the 1930's worsened, resistance developed to using public funds for construction of a livestock pavilion. A local newspaper asked, "Why, when people are starving, should money be spent on a "palace for cows?" A headline writer turned the phrase around, and the name Cow Palace stuck. The building was finished in 1941 through the WPA program employing thousands.
The Doors released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, in July 1969 and has just played 2 successful shows at the Aquarius Theatre in LA where they recorded the album, “Absolutely Live.” This followed a string of 24 cancelled shows in the Spring due to Morrison’s warrant for an arrest on profanity and indecent exposure charges following the Miami concert in March. Their Cow Palace show sold out at around 16,000 fans.
Opening up for the Doors were Elvin Bishop (former guitarist in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) and Indiana blues rock icon Lonnie Mack. Mack, who had a major hit in 1963 with a blistering instrumental version of “Memphis,” was enjoying his first of several high profile comebacks of his career having recently been signed to Door’s label, Elektra records, and released the first of three albums for them.