The Doors 1969 Celebration Concert Poster – L.A.’s Aquarius Theatre

A genuine and collectible Doors Celebration show poster advertising the band’s two concerts at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood, CA on July 21, 1969.

Depending on how you look at it, this poster is either highly artistic or rather crude; it’s in the eye of the beholder. But I think “abstract” is a pretty good description that everyone would agree on.

This Doors Aquarius Theater concert poster was the work of graphic artist Leon Bernard, a member of the band’s camp, whose signature is displayed down in the lower right-hand corner.

I would also call this poster “stark” because it consists only of black ink printed on thin white paper, with no pictures of the Doors and only minimal information given.

It was the middle of summer in Southern California when this Doors Celebration street sign was printed up, so it was fine that it was done on flimsy paper, because weather wasn’t a factor. During the winter, however, thicker cardboard would’ve probably been better.

Then again, Los Angeles’s weather conditions are nothing compared to back east and the upper Midwest, where a flimsy poster like this might not have survived the elements.

There were two shows given this night, at 8:00 and 10:30 PM, although for whatever reason, the Doors Aquarius Theater fence poster doesn’t mention that.

One possible explanation is that only one show was originally planned, and then a late show added after these posters were printed. Just conjecture.

One thing I like about this Doors Celebration poster is that the artwork reminds me of something Jim Morrison himself could have done. I think it has that feel to it.

The only easily understood portions of the artwork are the band’s name and “Celebration.” The rest is just abstract art, although that could be a person’s silhouette down toward the lower left.

But then the old-fashioned, standard print comes in to get across the basic information – but it’s small, very small. In the middle you have “Aquarius Theater,” and below that, “Live!”

And in the lower right-hand white margin, it states “21 July, ’69,” artist Leon Bernard’s signature, and then “Moonday,” humorously conveying that Monday was the day of the week for this event.

What’s missing from the Doors Celebration window poster is information on ticket prices, and where you can buy them. Then again, the two shows probably sold out in a heartbeat.

But it does give the year (’69) as part of the date. That’s what’s fun about collecting old concert posters like this: every graphic artist had a different idea of what they wanted their poster to convey.

This Doors Aquarius Theater event poster was used to advertise the group’s comeback from the infamous Miami, Florida incident of Jim Morrison supposedly exposing himself.

So there was a deafening buzz leading up to this night, which also served as a homecoming for perhaps Los Angeles’ biggest rock group ever.

Although this Doors Celebration concert sign doesn’t inform the attendees, tonight’s two shows were recorded by Elektra Records for release on an upcoming live album.

That eventual record, 1970’s Absolutely Live, most likely had some portions drawn from these two shows. And one of that LP’s two cover photos – the one tinted blue – was definitely taken on this very night.

Another thing not on this Doors Aquarius Theater street poster: this was part of the Elektra Records Showcase Concert Series, taking place throughout the summer of ’69.

It’s not widely known that the band also took to the Aquarius stage the following day for a long “rehearsal” of sorts, also recorded by Elektra.

This Doors Celebration concert announcement must’ve been met with, indeed, celebration in the L.A. area, because the group’s previous tour had finally been canceled when the Morrison brouhaha had grown to be too much.

So this was indeed a comeback for the group, and a triumphant one at that. Lead singer Morrison, in particular, was singled out by critics as being especially relaxed and self-assured.

I always tell the back story for a poster when I know it like this, because for me at least, the Doors Aquarius Theater ticket poster just becomes all the cooler when you’re informed of the story behind it.

Ditto for the fact that tonight’s two shows were eventually released in their entirety on the Doors’ own Bright Midnight CD reissue label. How cool to listen to those while looking at this poster on your wall?!

This Doors Celebration window display doesn’t have any mention of it, but the band’s newest album, The Soft Parade, had been released by Elektra on the preceding Friday. So that certainly must’ve fired up their local fan base.

Jim, Ray, Robbie and John never really cared much about playing their hit singles in concert – “Light My Fire” seemed to be the only guarantee – but they did perform their latest hit, “Touch Me,” at the late show here, but not the early show.

You might wonder how this Doors Aquarius Theater appearance poster could advertise the group playing at this venue, when the wildly popular musical “Hair” was occupying the theatre on a full-time basis.

That’s easy: as with most live theatre, the Aquarius was dark on Mondays, the day of rest for the play’s cast. So the Doors were able to slip right in there on a Monday night.

This Doors Celebration tour poster is displayed and discussed in intricate detail by poster collector Pete Howard (@805-540-0020 or email pete@postercentral.com). As a collector who doesn’t own this poster, I will pay you THE BEST PRICE, PERIOD if you have, or know of someone who has, this poster. Thanks.

To see another special Doors concert poster (from 1968) plus some other gems of the genre, please visit, right here on this web site, http://www.postercentral.com/rock.htm

This entry was posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, *The Doors and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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