Fillmore Venues

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Bill Graham on the last night of the Fillmore East.

From the mid-1960s to the start of the 1970s the Fillmore venues operated by Bill Graham provided a platform for the bands of the day to perform in San Francisco and New York. Initially using the Fillmore Auditorium (from 1966 to 1968) which is often referred to as The Fillmore after the area where it was located. He used the name when he opened the Fillmore East (1968 - 1971) in New York. Due to the limited size of the original Fillmore he opened the Fillmore West (1968 - 1971). With its iconic status numerous bands recorded albums Live At The Fillmore. Graham would close the Fillmores in 1971 for financial reasons and a desire to "find himself". Today numerous venues around the U.S. are branded as Fillmore clubs and theatres.

Fillmore Auditorium

Fillmore/Winterland poster

Originally built in 1912 it functioned as a dance hall and roller skating rink called the Majestic Hall. In 1954 it was renamed The Fillmore Auditorium. In 1965 Graham used the Fillmore's permit to put on a benefit show. He continued to use the venue for the next two years. Zappa and the Mothers regularly performed there throughout those two years:

As the Fillmore Auditorium only had a capacity of 1300 Graham would book the Winterland Ballroom, which had a capacity for an audience of over 5000, for Friday/Saturday shows expected to draw a larger audience; as was the case for the 15 - 16 December 1967 and 07 - 08 June 1968 shows.

Fillmore East

In March 1968 Graham opened the Fillmore East in New York taking over the 2700 capacity Village Theater which had been putting on concerts from 1965 to 1968 - Zappa and the Mothers had played there once in 1967. The Fillmore booked bands to play an early (8pm) and late (11:30pm) show. The late shows could finish at dawn. Zappa and the Mothers were regular performers:

Fillmore East Ticket

The Fillmore East closed at the end of June 1971.

Fillmore West

The Fillmore West in 1969

Abandoning the original Fillmore Graham moved down the road to the Carousel Ballroom, which at 3000 offered more than double the capacity, naming it Fillmore West. It opened on 5 July 1968 and operated until 4 July 1971. Zappa and the Mothers appeared here in November 1970:


Further Reading

Comprehensive history of Fillmore East

On Wikipedia: