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    Grateful Dead, Big Brother 1967 "Trip or Freak" Concert Poster Signed and Graded (AOR-2.183). An original first-printing, fully autographed concert poster from Halloween 1967 at San Francisco's Winterland auditorium featuring the mega-lineup of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company w/Janis Joplin and Quicksilver Messenger Service all playing on this night. The show was cleverly named "Trip or Freak" as a play on "Trick or Treat." The poster's famous, highly captivating artwork was created by three legends: Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley and Rick Griffin, and all three have signed the poster. In addition, Big Brother lead guitarist James Gurley has added his autograph right above his band's name.

    The poster depicts horror film actor Lon Chaney to get its Halloween message across, and the 600 little renditions in the backdrop were said to be cut up and used by some LSD dealers as 'acid blotters' to carry the drug. Another quirk of the highly frameable artwork is that Griffin accidentally left a letter out of "Quicksilver." Measures 14 1/4" x 26 1/4" and CGC-grades to 8.0 Very Fine condition. COA from Heritage Auctions.

    Literature: See Grushkin, Paul, The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk, Abbeville Press, New York, 1987, p.185 (illus.).

    More Information: A true masterpiece of the San Francisco psychedelic-poster era, Trip or Freak remains one of the most popular posters of this ilk. Just the music alone is enough to knock you off your feet, but the highly compelling artwork is spellbinding. It's so popular that Heritage has sold only one before, and that was a dozen years ago. Collectors prefer to just hang onto this one.

    People love to interpret Mouse's "Trip or Freak" wording at the top, featuring an ethereal female figure and other elements including breasts. In fact, even Mouse's signature on this occasion featured a pair of boob-like circles, said to be no coincidence. Also, notice "Fantasmagoraball" in the small circle. The correct spelling would have been "Phantasmagoria (ball)," a form of horror theatre which projects images of ghosts, demons and skeletons onto walls and such, but poetic license allowed these classic S.F. poster artists to do anything they wanted and break every rule in the book.

    It's well-known that Alton Kelley was the man behind the Lon Chaney image from the 1925 horror flick The Phantom of the Opera. What a trippy idea to have it reproduced almost 600 times as a backdrop, acid or no acid.

    And Rick Griffin created the two lines of lettering at the poster's bottom in his own inimitable style. That lettering closely resembles the style used for the words "Rolling Stone" on that new San Francisco magazine's front covers, which Griffin designed for publisher Jann Wenner. Rolling Stone's debut issue came out in November, mere days after this concert. So... it's no coincidence.

    One of the true respected specialists in this field, Jacaeber Kastor, examined our poster and estimated that the three artist signatures, based on their styles, probably date to the mid-80's. Hard to believe that's already a third of a century ago, and only Mouse is still with us.

    As for Mr. Gurley's signature on here, anyone who loves & admires Janis Joplin's performance of "Ball and Chain" (Cheap Thrills, Monterey Pop) has to appreciate Gurley's soaring, crunching lead guitar lines which so perfectly set up Janis's initially hushed and nuanced vocal. It was a dynamite combination that many feel was never touched by Janis's subsequent, slicker Kozmic Blues Band.

    Condition details: Rick Griffin's signature has faded back significantly with time and exposure to light, but is still very discernable. It may have also been done in red or orange ink to match the poster, giving it a slight visual handicap. Kelley's is better, Mouse's is better still, and Gurley's is the strongest of all, having been done with a thicker pen and probably at a different time.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 825

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    Sold on Jul 17, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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