In the late 1960s, one of the most prominent venues in rock was the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. And in March 1968, the franchise went east to New York.
Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East on Second Avenue in Manhattan, acquiring a theatre that was once known for catering to a Yiddish-speaking audience, and was already in disrepair. The opening of the Fillmore East was a way for giving East Coast music audiences the same kind of concert experience of Fillmore West, complete with not only some of the biggest names in music at the time, but also the famous light show, which would serve as the backdrop.
Many artists, who performed at Fillmore East, went on to record live albums there, and some became big hits, as well as musical landmarks. They include the Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Crosby Stills, Nash, and Young’s 4 Way Street, and Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys. Many other recordings from the venue would get released long after it’s 1971 closing, including those from Laura Nyro, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Miles Davis.
The Fillmore East closed in June 1971, with artists including Albert King, the Allman Brothers Band, and Country Joe McDonald. It was later reopened in 1974 as the Village East, then as a gay nightclub called the Saint in 1980. The building is now occupied by a bank, with the rest of the interior becoming apartments. A signpost that marked the spot of where the theater once was, is all that remains. However, the Fillmore East (and its counterpart in San Francisco) lives on in the recordings now captured on DVD, CD, and the memories of those, who were there to experience them.