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The Fillmore is a little concert venue in San Francisco, California. It's at the corner of Geary and Fillmore, a block or so from the AMC Kabuki Cinemas and Japantown. Someone told me once that it fits about 1,200 people but it seems way smaller than that.. it's kinda cozy & 'intimate' (depending on the crowd, I guess). There's an open hardwood floor in front of the stage with tables to sit at around the floor's perimeter, cushioned benches against the wall. The bar is situated opposite of the stage and waitresses walk all around serving drinks to anyone legal. There's a balcony upstairs that looks over the entire room from the back and left walls. You can sit wherever you want. Purple lighted chandeliers hang from the ceiling and yes, there is a disco ball. The walls upstairs around the balcony and in the hallway just outside the main room downstairs are covered with years and years worth of posters of bands that have played there. It's like a museum of music experience, it is so goddamned cool. There's a coat check in the hall downstairs and bands sell merchandi$e out there too. I think the halls are carpeted but I can't remember for sure. There is always a bucket of apples at the top of the stairs for people to pick up and munch upon on their way down & outside after a show.

In the early part of the 20th century, the building was a dance hall and a roller rink. Bill Graham started running it in 1965 and under him, it evolved into a forum for concerts, poetry readings, dances, parties, political gatherings and so on. It closed in 1971 and the building was used sporadically for different things. It was reopened again in 1994.

Nearly every act that plays there has a fillmore poster done and some are for sale at their website: www.thefillmore.com.
Amoeba Records & Rasputin On Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley & the Amoeba on Haight street also have Fillmore posters for sale, some rare ones too.

I'd LOVE to have been able to see the Fillmore in the sixties but unfortunately I wasn't born yet. It's still pretty kick ass even now. It's a fun place to see a show, everyone visiting S.F. should check it out. But be warned: the bathrooms are a tad bit uric in scent.
The Fillmore is the preeminent place to see bands play in San Francisco... It was a dance hall operated under various names and managements starting in 1910 through the 1930s, and a roller rink in the 1940s. In 1952 some of the biggest names in black music including James Brown, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Ike & Tina Turner played there.

From December 10, 1965, when Bill Graham produced a San Francisco Mime troupe benefit (Jefferson Airplane with Great Society and Mystery Trend; the Warlocks, later to become the Grateful Dead), until July 4, 1968 when the golden age of the Fillmore came to an end, the Fillmore was THE PLACE to be, to dance, to trip, to play music, to do you thing in San Francisco. The Filmore was ahead of its time and inspire uncountable clubs across America.

The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Carlos Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape, the Butterfield Blues Band, got their start here. Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Cream, Howlin' Wolf, Captain Beefheart, Muddy Waters, The Who all played here as did Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa and many many many others.

Here's what a month at the fillmore was like back in those headdy days of the Summer of Love, August 1967:

Aug. 1-6: Muddy Waters, Buffalo Springfield, Richie Havens.
Aug. 8-13: Electric Flag, with Moby Grape and Steve Miller Blues Band.
Aug. 15-17: Chuck Berry and Charles Lloyd Quartet, with Steve Miller Blues Band.
Aug. 18-19: Young Rascals and Charles Lloyd Quartet.
Aug. 20-21: Count Basie Orchestra with Charles Lloyd Quartet.
Aug. 22-27: Butterfield Blues Band and Cream.
Aug. 29-31: Cream, Electric Flag, Gary Burton.

WOW! imagine that!

The Fillmore also played host to many non-musical events, including Michael McClure's The Beard; Leroi Jones's (Amri Baraka)The Dutchman, Lenny Bruce's last public appearance on a bill also featuring Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.

"There was very much a whole kind of Fillmore energy coming off the audience that combined with the band," Eric Clapton remembers. "When we played the Fillmore for the first time (with Cream) the band was in the light show. If you were in the audienace, you didn't know who was playing. Not at all. It was a sensory thing."

Bill Graham's policy of introducing Fillmore audiences to eclectic musical combinations turned on a generation to the music of classic blues and jazz artists including Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Jimmy Reed, The Staple Singers and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

The Fillmore hosted it's last show of the Golden Age on the Fourth of July, 8. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf and It's a Beautiful Day played.

The Fillmore became a private neighborhood club for a time in the 1970s, and in the early 1980s, it reopened as the Elite Club playing host to punk shows. Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Dead Kennedys, T.S.O.L., Flipper, Public Image Ltd. were among the luminaries of a new generation to play the venerated hall. Alpha Blondy & The Solar System and Little Women played there as did Husker Du.

In 1991 after Bill Graham's death the Fillmore was refurbished and reopened under Bill Graham Presents auspices.
The Fillmore reopened April 27, 1994 with The Smashing Pumpkins, Ry Cooder & David Lindley and American Music Club. Tickets sold out in less than a minute.It's been a haven for the best music this side of Aldderan ever since.


The Fillmore's opening month lineup included:

- Primus 4/28 & 29
- Chris Isaak 4/30 & 5/1
- Michelle Shocked 5/2
- The Afghan Whigs & Redd Kross 5/3
- Queen Latifah and Solsonics, 5/4 X 5/5
- Gin Blossoms 5/6
- Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Marshall Crenshaw 5/7
- D'Cuckoo and Pele Juju 5/8
- Sir Douglas Quintet and The Hellecasters 5/10
- Brian Setzer Orchestra 5/11
- Mother Hips 5/12
- Ali Farka Toure and Ben Harper 5/13
- Huey Lewis and the News 5/14
- NRBQ 5/15
- Blues Traveler and Soul Hat 5/16 & 17
- They Might Be Giants and Frente! 5/18
- Counting Crows 5/19-22
- Thinking Fellers Union Local #282, Steel Pole Bathtub and SF Seals 5/25
- Twister - A Ritual Reality, performed by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, with music by Jambay 5/26 & 27
- Jefferson Starship and Merl Saunders 5/28

WOW!!!

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