Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rock Revival's Time Capsule: The Fillmore East 1968-1971

In 1968, Bill Graham, San Francisco concert promoter, crucial figure in the rise of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and others, decided to open an East Coast version of his famous venue, the Fillmore West.

Whatever Bill put his hand to was to turn into gold: The Fillmore East, a former Yiddish theatre, was to become ‘The Church of Rock and Roll’. It was to host the cream of late 60’s rock: The Doors, Hendrix, Hunble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, the list goes on.

If the Grateful Dead were the house band at the Fillmore West, the Allman Brothers performed a similar function at the East, leading to international stardom after the release of their double live album.

Miles Davis Live at the Fillmore East is also renowned, making overnite and enduring jazz stars of Chick Corea, Keith Karrett and David Holland.

Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies was also recorded there.

Rock eventually grew so big that it needed stadiums. Graham closed the venue and went to Greece to ‘find himself’. He reported being disconcerted, however, because noone in Greece knew who he was !

The final concert was on June 27, 1971, with the Allman Brothers, J Geils, Edgar Winter, The Beach Boys and Country Joe and the Fish.

Since then it’s been a gay club and a bank and now it’s an apartment complex.

So much for progress. Rock on the Fillmore East !
Image: Courtesy Reprise

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