The Fillmore

The Fillmore

:"For the San Francisco neighborhood, see Fillmore District. For other venues named Fillmore, see Fillmore#Music venues."

The Fillmore (also known as Fillmore Auditorium) is a historic music venue in San Francisco, California made famous by Bill Graham. Named for its original location at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard, it lies on the boundary of the Western Addition and the Pacific Heights neighborhoods. In 1968, Graham moved his concerts to a different venue at Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue (formerly known as The Carousel Ballroom and El Patio) which he renamed Fillmore West; the original Fillmore Auditorium continued under the name The Elite Club. Graham began presenting concerts at the original Fillmore Auditorium again in the 1980s, but it was closed due to earthquake damage in October 1989. After much structural work, in 1994 the original Geary Boulevard location re-opened as The Fillmore.

As of 2008, The Fillmore is leased and operated by Live Nation.


In the mid-1960s, The Fillmore Auditorium became the focal point for psychedelic music and counterculture in general, with acts such as Eric Burdon & The Animals, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Cream, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eric Burdon & War, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Country Joe & The Fish and Big Brother and the Holding Company performing at the venue. [ [ Concert Vault - Where Live Music Lives,Streaming Free Music, Live Concert Downloads ] ] . Besides rock, Graham also featured non-rock acts such as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Charles Lloyd, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding as well as poetry readings. The venue had a legendary ambience as well as the stellar performances, often with swirling light-show projections, strobe lights and uninhibited dancing. At the end of the evening, Bill Graham often stood next to a huge bin of fresh apples at the front exit saying good night to the patrons and handing out apples. Many attendees also took home small handbill versions of the famous psychedelic art posters designed by artists including Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse.

After two years there, because of a deteriorating neighborhood and the modest capacity of the hall, Bill Graham moved the venue in July 1968 from the original building at 1805 Geary Boulevard to the Carousel Ballroom at 10 South Van Ness Avenue, at the corner of Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue (now the location of an automobile dealership), which was renamed Fillmore West (in contrast with Graham's Fillmore East auditorium in the East Village in New York City). The distinction between the original Fillmore Auditorium and the later Fillmore West is often lost on many music fans and journalists, especially those overseas who did not experience the San Francisco scene personally.

The original Fillmore location became a private club called The Elite Club. For several years in the early 1980s, punk promoter Paul Rat booked punk rock shows at this venue. Punk bands that performed at The Elite Club include Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, Gang of Four, and Public Image Ltd. []

The Fillmore reopened under Graham's management by the late 1980s, but it was damaged and closed by the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 1989. After Graham died in a helicopter crash in 1991, those close to him decided to carry out his final wish to retrofit and reopen the original Fillmore. The Fillmore re-opened in 1994 with the band The Smashing Pumpkins playing the first show. The Fillmore has once again become a San Francisco hot spot with frequent shows. For a standard show, the capacity of the Fillmore is 1,250 guests.

The Fillmore is also well known for its psychedelic concert posters by artists who in the 1960s included Wes Wilson and Rick Griffin. Copies of the night's poster are given to fans free of charge as they exit selected, sold-out shows. A chronological collection of these posters is on display in the mezzanine level of the auditorium today.

Other traditions are carried on to this day. One is a large tub of free apples for concert goers positioned near the entrance. Another is a "greeter", a staff member who welcomes each guest as they enter ("Welcome to the Fillmore!").

Live Nation has recently begun a campaign to expand the Fillmore "brand" by changing the names of a number of established clubs it owns around the U.S. to "The Fillmore____." This includes clubs in Detroit, Philadelphia (Fillmore at the TLA), New York City (Fillmore at Irving Plaza), Denver and Miami Beach (Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theatre). Plans underway to construct a Fillmore in the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland have been met with oppositionCite web
title=Critics Question Fillmore Plans
publisher=Washington Post
year=Nov. 24, 2007
author=Ann E. Marimow
] .


External links

* [ "Fillmore San Francisco" official website]
* [ LA Alternative cover story/psychedelic 60s poster movement by Shana Ting Lipton]
* [ Chronology of San Francisco Rock 1965-1969]

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