Big Brother and the Holding Company – March 8th, 1968
For the very first performance at the Fillmore East, Bill Graham decided to bring the sound of San Francisco out to the East Coast. He gave Big Brother and The Holding Company the honor of replacing Freddie King in the opening slot. The New York cultural insiders descended on the venue that evening to witness the blues-rock band fronted by a singer from Texas named Janis Joplin. Even though tensions in the group were at an all-time high because of Joplin’s burgeoning star status, Big Brother managed to set their differences aside that night and deliver a tremendous performance, especially in the second set, which kicked off at nearly two in the morning and gathered a rapturous standing ovation. In the course of just one night, the entire city was put on alert: The Fillmore East was the new place to be seen and heard.
I recently visited the East Village 2nd Avenue location where the Fillmore East once stood. Here are some photos from that pilgrimage.
Today the property is occupied by Apple Bank. The lobby features one wall of original black and white photographs by Amalie R. Rothschild, the official photographer of the Fillmore East. The other wall has framed color decoupage of various eras of the theatre.
There was a time in New York City Rock History when The Fillmore East and the Academy of Music were THE Rock Palaces where rock music ruled the planet. Both venues were based in the East Village, not too far apart from each other.
Thanks to Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo we can revisit that era through the art of the rock photographer’s camera lens.
On Thursday, May 7th from 7-9pm at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, located at 116 Prince Street in SoHo, there will be an opening reception of an exhibition of photography by Amalie R. Rothschild and Bill Green. This show features photographs shot at the Fillmore East and the Academy of Music here in New York City. You may RSVP HEREby email.
John Glatt’s book begins with a foreword by Joshua White who founded the legendary Joshua Light Show. The rock music history that unfolded had a unique illuminated art as its backdrop from the art of Joshua White and his team. I was fortunate to witness this light show at The Fillmore East in June of 1969 at a Jeff Beck Group show I have written about on this blog.
Should you wish to know more about the Joshua Light Show and the team that provided the lighting I refer you to the book, Live at the Fillmore East A Photographic Memoir by Amalie R. Rothschild.
I am eager to acquire John Glatt’s books to add them to my rock music concert library. I am certain his books will be a valuable read of depth and insight. These books are certain to provide invaluable knowledge about how Bill Graham conducted business with the famous rock musicians in the day.
Rounder Records will release the seven CD box set,Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective on Tuesday March 19th. It will include rare recordings by Duane Allman’s early bands: the Escorts, Allman Joys, the 31st of February, and the Bleus. A 72 page liner notes booklet featuring extensive content is accompanied by a tribute from Allman’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman.
“I hope the celebration of Duane’s life inspires you to live fearlessly and enjoy life,” Galadrielle states. “I know that would have made him proud.”
The deluxe set also has the guitarist’s best-known and most commercially successful recordings with the Allman Brothers Band and Derek & the Dominos, as well as session work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs, Clarence Carter, King Curtis, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Ronnie Hawkins, Otis Rush, Laura Nyro, Lulu, the Sweet Inspirations, Laura Lee, Spencer Wiggins, Arthur Conley, Willie Walker, the Lovelles, the Soul Survivors, Johnny Jenkins, John Hammond, Doris Duke, Eric Quincy Tate, Herbie Mann and more.
In her recollection of her father, who died when she was a young child, Galadrielle writes, “I am very lucky that my father is Duane Allman, an artist who left behind a wealth of incredible music . . . Working on this retrospective, I have gotten closer than I ever have been to understanding my father’s development as a musician and a man.”
The best price I have seen for this seven CD set is on the Allman Brothers Band Store, Hitting the Note. The pre-order price is $99.99 a $40 savings off the list price!
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.
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 associateThe 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.
Our favorite memorabilia was the sculpted life size puppets from the Touch of Grey video, the huge Uncle Sam batik panel stage backdrop, the two full cases of Grateful Dead T-Shirts and all the hand drawn SASE envelopes for Dead tickets.
After touring the exhibit we visited the gift shop and purchased a Dead T-Shirt and a poster.
Then we joined our son at Dallas BBQ on West 72nd Street, which is right next to The Dakota. Thanks for buying lunch Matt, it made Fathers Day 2010 very special.
We urge you to go visit this fantastic exhibit. It makes every Deadhead feel real proud and included. We love our extended Grateful Dead family.