Fillmore East Poster and Handbill Art

Bill Graham had east coast poster artists who he commissioned to design posters and handbills for The Fillmore East concerts. The most notable poster artists were Helen Hersh and David Byrd.

 

The poster and handbill for the  first concert at The Fillmore East, March 8, 1968, Big Brother with Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley and Albert King.

Helen Hersh

David Byrd

I was living on a multi-media commune outside Manhattan when several of my schoolmates from Carnegie-Mellon were opening the Fillmore East at the old 2nd Avenue Theatre in the East Village with Bill Graham from San Francisco. Manager Kip Cohen called to say they needed a poster artist and they all thought to call me, as I was the one visual artist amongst a group of theater graduates. At the time I was interested in crystal matrices and used a hex grid to create the hair as a mass of psychedelic photons in orange, yellow-green, magenta and black. Unlike the San Francisco Fillmore, we did not do a poster every week, but only for major stars like Hendrix. Film positive painted from behind in acrylic.

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The Fillmore East 40 Years On

NYC - East Village - Fillmore East: Allman Bro...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East on June 28, 1971. No rock hall echoes stronger in the music of our heart than Bill Graham’s legendary venue in the East Village section of NYC.

The concert that closed The Fillmore East is equally, if not more historic.  The Allman Brothers Band headlined that night, with J Geils Band as the middle act and Albert King as the opening act. Guest stars who joined The Allman Brothers Band and the other scheduled acts on stage that night included Mountain, Country Joe McDonald, Edgar Winter’s White Trash with Rick Derringer and The Beach Boys. I listened to the entire concert which was broadcast live over WNEW-FM 102.7.  The concert went from 8 p.m. on June 27th until 6 a.m. in the morning of June 28th.

This tile was a gift to the Fillmore East employees

 

There were 40 albums recorded live at The Fillmore East from 1968 through 1971. Considering there were 111 main concerts during that time frame (more if you count both early and late show events) 40 concerts was close to 1/3 of all shows that were performed there. You can see the complete list of live Fillmore East albums, sorted A-Z by recording title on this Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Live_at_the_Fillmore_East_albums

Many people associate The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East as “the” recording that captured the music live of the last night. Truth of the matter is that only when the deluxe edition of  this dual CD was released did we get to hear two tracks from June 28th, “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider”. According to Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J Geils Band who performed that night, “the Allman Brothers started at around four in the morning. At dawn, they were still playing “Crossroads,” or something like that.” (Graham and Greenfield, 2004).

The late, great photographer Jim Marshall took the photographs for the cover of  The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in the alley next to Capricorn Recording Studios in Macon, Georgia. (not in the alley of The Fillmore East as many, including myself, always thought).  This is my favorite pose by the band that Jim Marshall’s unique lens captured.

There are several definitive sources of information available about The Fillmore East. I refer you to my reference section at the end of this blog post.

As we get closer to celebrating the real 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East I will update this blog post with any potential celebrations and events. Trust me  I plan to take part as fully as I can in those events.

Reference

My favorite Web site about The Fillmore East is the The Fillmore East Preservation Society. I love this Web site and the freaks who put it together!

An immensely satisfying book about the Fillmore East authored by Amalie R. Rothschild who worked for the  Joshua Light Show and was the official photographer for The Fillmore East. Her camera captured many intimate moments as they occurred during those exciting three years. Live at the Fillmore East,  A Photographic Memoir, http://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-Photographic-Memoir/dp/1560252790


Amalie R. Rothschild’s Web Site http://www.amalierrothschild.com/Allman/index.html

Bill Graham and The Fillmore East are synonymous. This is a well written autobiography and collaboration.

Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield, 2004, Bill Graham Presents, My Life Inside Rock and Out, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA