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Bill Graham hated the monster he created
In booking acts for both Fillmore theatres (East & West), a performer would agree to 6 shows (4 in NY) for the weekend, two shows per night. The fee was reasonable and everyone had a good time. Woodstock changed all that. Why play mutiple days when you could play one big event and charge a small fortune? He published an open letter in The Village Voice explaining why he was closing his venues.

Fillmore East closing
On June 27, Bill closed the Fillmore
The Last Marquee

 East
from The New Yorker

. The private closing show (broadcast live on WNEW-FM and taped by hundreds) had this line-up:
  • Albert King
  • The J Geils Band
  • Edgar Winter's White Trash
  • Mountain
  • The Beach Boys
  • Country Joe McDonald
  • The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers portion of the show was released on the deluxe CD of Eat A Peach. It's one of the best sets they ever did. If you can find the J Geils set on the internets, get it—you will not be disappointed.
Planet Presents
A Tribute To The Fillmore
December, 1971

Click to see the issue

Fillmore West closing
Graham laid out a big party in San Francisco, showcasing new and established bands for a week (Jun 30-Jul 4, 1971). His roots in the Bay Area music scene went back to 1965 and he was proud of what he helped create.
Click the "Blue Note" for the daily band line-ups.
This 3-record set contains some of the highlights from that week. A documentary film was released in July, 1972.

Fillmore: The Last Days
Fillmore Records 3XS-2637
6/72 BB
Booklet Cover

 
Extra Goodies

 
Side One
John Walker Introduction 2:12
Lamb Hello Friends 3:16
Elvin Bishop Group So Fine 3:52
Elvin Bishop Group Party 'Til The Cows Come Home 3:16
Malo Pana 8:27
Side Two
Sons Of Champlin Poppa Can Play 5:00
It's A Beautiful Day White Bird 9:07
Quicksilver Messenger Service Fresh Air 4:47
Quicksilver Messenger Service Mojo 6:02
Side Three
Bill Graham Introduction :58
Tower Of Power Back On The Streets Again 6:35
Boz Scaggs Baby's Callin' Me Home 8:59
Cold Blood I Just Want To Make Love To You 6:28
Side Four
Stoneground Passion Flower 3:53
New Riders Of The Purple Sage Henry 4:12
Grateful Dead Casey Jones 6:03
Grateful Dead Johnny B Goode 4:05
Side Five
Bill Graham Introduction :49
Hot Tuna Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning 7:47
Santana Incident at Neshabur 5:39
Santana In a Silent Way 7:58
Side Six
Taj Mahal, Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs & Friends We Gonna Rock 6:46
Taj Mahal, Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs & Friends Long And Tall 12:32
Bill Graham Goodbye/Greensleeves 3:32

Note: Included in the package was this bonus 45, old ticket stub, poster, booklet

Words With Bill Graham / Words With Bill Graham
Bill Graham (8:36) / Bill Graham (8:25)
Fillmore Records AS7 1049

And: A single was released from this box set:

Grateful Dead—Johnny B Goode / Elvin Bishop Group—So Fine
Berry (4:05) / Otis (3:52)
Warner Bros/Fillmore WB 7627, 9/72

 

Note: Several CDs have been issued that have more complete sets, like Santana (bonus tracks on III)
 

 


Great nights with Great shows
Many great shows were recorded and released as albums. Sure, most had some studio "sweetenin'" done to compensate for a bad mic or hangover. But, they did capture the crowd excitement and the interaction betwixt musician and fan. If only they could package the light shows that evolved with the music. That was the real thrill of going to the Fillmore East. A near-total immersion you won't find at an arena!

Turns out ole Wolfgang recorded just about every show at both Fillmores, and thru the Wolfgang's Vault web site, you can stream or outright buy these shows. They have new artists, as well.

Since the turn of the century, many of these shows have been released by real legitimate record companies. There are quite a few of these in the artist listings, and they look like this:
 ➜ Live: 5/3-4, Fillmore East; released 1998: Live At The Fillmore East 
Among those released concerts is an outstanding show by Neil Young & Crazy Horse (recorded during the Everybody Knows... tour). Don't forget two Jefferson Airplane shows: Sweeping Up the Spotlight (11/69, same weekend as The Youngbloods—great show!) and Live at the Fillmore East (5/68, still working on Crown), Derek & The Dominos (10/70 shows were combined to release an LP in 1973 and an expanded CD in 1994), Aretha Franklin & King Curtis (3/5-7/71, a blistering set called Aretha Live at Fillmore West, released in May of 1971—but get the deluxe 4-CD set to get the real goods).

A lot of the records listed here have had their own "deluxe" CD editions: Airplane's Bless It's Pointed Little Head, John Mayall's Turning Point, Joe Cocker's Mad Dog shows, and Jimi Hendrix' New Years Eve show. Tread lightly around The Allman Brothers, though. Two remixes and they still haven't gotten it right! Get the deluxe edition of Eat A Peach for the Allmans burnin' down the joint on the closing night. It's better.

Oh, and there were other famous venues that our bands played in that have their crowds attitude preserved: Bill's other places: Fillmore Auditorium & Winterland, Grande Ballroom in Detroit, The Matrix in San Francisco, The Whiskey in LA, and others. See the Details/Help page for more info.

Sure would be cool if there was some way to see what bands were playing at these fabled places (well, NY and SF, anyway). It'd be even better if it was laid out in a calendar format. It could even list festivals! Dreams did come true, and its been upgraded it to a full menu item! This link will take you to one of five starter pages—enjoy!

In the records listed below, I've updated the event details to the latest accurate dates and venues.

 

The Allman Brothers Band
Live At Fillmore East Fillmore East, 3/12-13/71
Michael Bloomfield
Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West Fillmore West, 1/30-31/69
Joe Cocker
Mad Dogs And Englishmen Fillmore East, 3/27-28/70
Country Joe & The Fish
The Life And Times Of...(portions) Fillmore East, 11/15-16/68
Fillmore West, 1/9-12/69
Cream
Live Cream(portions) Fillmore West, 3/7/1968
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Four Way Street(portions) Fillmore East, 6/27/70
Faces
Long Player(portions) Fillmore East, 11/10/70
The Fugs
Golden Filth Fillmore East, 6/1/68
Grateful Dead
Live/Dead
Grateful Dead (portions)
Fillmore West, 2/27-28, 3/6/69
Fillmore East, 4/26/71
Nick Gravenites
My Labors(portions) Fillmore West, 1/30-31/69
Jimi Hendrix
Band Of Gypsys Fillmore East, 12/31/69-1/1/70
Humble Pie
Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore Fillmore East, 5/27-28/71
Jefferson Airplane
Bless Its Pointed Little Head Fillmore West, 10/24-26/68
Fillmore East, 11/28-30/68
Taj Mahal
The Real Thing Fillmore East, 2/13/71
John Mayall
The Turning Point Fillmore East, 7/12/69
The Mothers of Invention
Fillmore East—June 1971 Fillmore East, 6/5-6/71
Mountain
Flowers Of Evil(portions) Fillmore East, 6/27/1971
The Nice
Nice(side two) Fillmore East, 4/9-10/69
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Happy Trails(portions) Fillmores East & West, 1968
The Youngbloods
Ride The Wind Fillmore East, 11/26,28-29/69

Note: One of the best concerts ever at the Fillmore East that STILL hasn't seen the legitimate light-of-day is The Who,
taped on April 6, 1968!

Several recordings claiming to be from either Fillmore were actually recorded at other venues:

Something For Everybody
Bill Graham liked to present diverse artists, here are several other recordings from the Fillmore East.

Lorin Hollander (classical pianist)
  At The Fillmore East Fillmore East, 2/23/69
Virgil Fox/Heavy Organ
  Bach Live At Fillmore East Fillmore East, 12/1/70
Buffalo Bob Smith (Howdy Doody fame)
  Live at Bill Graham's Fillmore East Fillmore East, 4/4/71
Miles Davis
  Miles Davis at Fillmore Fillmore East, 6/17-20/70

 


Lending A Helping Hand
Bill was truly involved in his communities. His whole career began after putting together a benefit show in San Francisco in 1965. Here are some of the benefits and political events Bill hosted at both locations. There might be more of these benefits at that dream spot mentioned above (I'd look for weekday events, myself).

VDC Study Group Benefit
   with Dead, Grape, Sly, Notes Fillmore Auditorium, 2/12/67
WBAI Radio Benefit
   with Incredible String Band Fillmore East, 6/5/68
Benefit For Sing Out Magazine
   with Happy & Artie Traum, Pete Seeger, David Peel Fillmore East, 10/27/68
Benefit For Oddysey House
   with Duke Ellington & New York Rock 'n' Roll Ensemble Fillmore East, 12/4/68

Links!
Fillmore East Preservation Society, includes show lists
CHICKENONAUNICYCLE, great web site has lots of 60s Bay info. Click on Bill Graham Shows for a list.

 


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