June 27, 1971: Fillmore East Closes

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fillmore-east-tileThe last night at promoter Bill Graham’s famed Fillmore East concert hall in Manhattan was a star-studded invite-only affair: the Allman Brothers Band, the J. Geils Band, Albert King, Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Mountain, the Beach Boys and Country Joe McDonald, simulcast on two New York FM progressive rock stations, WNEW and WPLJ.

Located at 105 Second Avenue in the East Village, it was originally a Yiddish theater that opened in 1926 as the Commodore. It later became a Loews movie house and then the Village Theatre (where The Who played their first full New York show; see our story here). Graham opened it as the east coast counterpart to his San Francisco Fillmore on March 8, 1968 with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Tim Buckley and Albert King.

Numerous top rock artists played the hall (see full list here) as well as soul, jazz and other acts in the Graham tradition of stylistically varied bills. It was also the site of many live album recordings including the Allmans’ 1971 breakthrough At Fillmore East.

Related: 10 great “Live at the Fillmore” albums

On June 27, 1971, the Allman Brothers Band performed nine songs including “Statesboro Blues,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Midnight Rider” before closing with “You Don’t Love Me.” The Beach Boys’ 11-song set included hits like “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” and “I Get Around” and a cover of Elton John’s then-recent hit “Your Song.”

Listen to an edited version of the final evening…

Related: 10 more great “Live at the Fillmore” albums

In the mid ’70s it was briefly reopened as a concert hall called the NFE Theatre and then Village East. In 1980 it was repurposed as a gay dance club called The Saint. Today the lobby is a branch of the Apple Bank for Savings and the hall has been converted into apartments.

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