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The Shrine Auditorium and Exposition Hall was built in 1925 and consists of a seated auditorium and around the corner a large trade show and rock concert floor. The Expo Hall had a capacity of about 5,000 and in the late 1960s, most rock concert listings that said “Shrine” were there rather than the Auditorium.
By February 1968 (recall his US breakout at Monterey 8 months earlier), Jimi Hendrix was not only huge, but a sensation. So, appropriately, the Jimi Hendrix Experience played the Shrine Auditorium instead of the expo hall were there was greater capacity and seats were reserved meaning not only higher prices, but guaranteed places for important people. Since Hendrix was so rightfully famous, the poster and the event have had far more reach than any event at Shrine Expo Hall.
After a sound check, the Experience jammed with Buddy Miles, Harvey Brooks and David Crosby at the Shrine Auditorium. Their set included: “Are You Experienced?” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Up From The Skies,” “Red House,” “Wild Thing,” and “Purple Haze.” Peter Tork attended the show and afterward hosted a party at his home in Laurel Canyon where Hendrix jammed late into the night with Stephen Stills.
Designer John Van Hamersveld created the poster for the iconic surf film Endless Summer in 1965 and went on to work as Capitol Records' head of design from 1965 to 1968 and worked on the artwork for 54 albums by Capitol artists including the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Other album covers he designed include “Magical Mystery Tour” “Exile on Main Street,” and “Skeletons from the Closet” by the Grateful Dead. A partner and co-founder of Pinnacle Productions, he designed a total of 14 posters in 1968 for rock acts appearing at the Shrine.
Contemporary artist Shepard Fairey modeled one of the images in his "Obey Giant" series on this poster, and later wrote about Van Hamersveld's design,
"Through abstraction, the black-and-white image achieves something similar to a Rorschach inkblot test: it takes on the different interpretations projected by each viewer. I immediately saw a connection to Beethoven in John’s rendering of Hendrix. I made the analogy of Hendrix’s Afro to Beethoven’s wig, and Hendrix’s ascot to Beethoven’s frilly frock. I’ve since seen this interpretation from other sources, and my assumption was that Hendrix was being put on a pedestal as a musician and cultural icon on the scale of Beethoven. When I spoke to John about the Pinnacle Hendrix image years later, he explained that the ascot was not inspired by Beethoven but by Eric Clapton and Cream, who Hendrix admired for their music and fashion. However, the Beethoven comparison had inspired John to illustrate a fantastic series of classical composers."