September 24, 2008

Fillmore: The Last Days Revived

When the neighborhood around the original Fillmore Auditorium became too rough, Bill Graham took over the lease of the Carousel Ballroom in downtown San Francisco, which had been run for the previous eight months by the Dead, along with a couple of other prominent San Francisco partners (like the Airplane). Renamed the Fillmore West, the beautiful second-floor ballroom served as the counterpart to Graham's famed Fillmore East in New York City, closing on July 4th, 1971. Before it closed that summer Bill Graham put on a five-day concert send-off that was filmed and released the next year as the documentary Fillmore: The Last Days. Memorable too was the 3 LP box set with concert highlights (Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and Johnny B. Goode, and contributions from Quicksilver, Santana, Hot Tuna...) and the special packaging that included the closing week's poster, a used ticket, and a booklet with a listing of all Fillmore West shows.

The 1972 documentary (105 mins) is now coming out on DVD in November, but if you want to see it sooner it will be shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Throckmorton Theatre on October 3rd.

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