Fillmore East

Coordinates: 40°43′39″N 73°59′19″W / 40.7276°N 73.9886°W / 40.7276; -73.9886
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40°43′39″N 73°59′19″W / 40.7276°N 73.9886°W / 40.7276; -73.9886

Fillmore East
The entrance to the Fillmore East, now an Apple Bank branch
Former namesCommodore Theater
Village Theater
Location105 Second Avenue
at East 6th Street
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
TypeConcert Hall
OpenedMarch 8, 1968
ClosedJune 27, 1971

The Fillmore East was rock promoter Bill Graham's rock venue on Second Avenue near East 6th Street on the Lower East Side section of Manhattan, now called the East Village, in New York City. The venue was open from March 8, 1968, to June 27, 1971, and featured some of the biggest acts in rock music of that time. The Fillmore East was a companion to Graham's Fillmore Auditorium, and its successor, the Fillmore West, in San Francisco.

Pre-Fillmore East[edit]

The theatre at 105 Second Avenue that became the Fillmore East was originally built as a Yiddish theater in 1925–26, designed by Harrison Wiseman in the Medieval Revival style, at a time when that section of Second Avenue was known as the "Yiddish Theater District" and the "Jewish Rialto"[1] because of the numerous theatres that catered to a Yiddish-speaking audience. Called the Commodore Theater, and independently operated, it eventually was taken over by Loews Inc. and became a movie theater, the Loews Commodore. It later became the Village Theatre, owned by Roger Euster, with on-site management by Ben Barenholtz.[1][2] When Bill Graham took over the theatre in 1968, it was unused and had fallen into disrepair. Despite the deceptively small front marquee and façade, the theater had a substantial capacity of almost 2,700.

Fillmore East[edit]

The venue provided Graham with an East Coast counterpart to his existing Fillmore in San Francisco, California.[3] Opening on March 8, 1968, the Fillmore East quickly became known as "The Church of Rock and Roll," with two-show, triple-bill concerts several nights a week. Graham would regularly alternate acts between the East and West Coast venues. Until early 1971, bands were booked to play two shows per night, at 8 pm and 11 pm, on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Notable acts[edit]

Among the notable acts to play the Fillmore East was Jimi Hendrix. His album Band of Gypsys was recorded live on New Year's Day 1970. British blues-rock trio Cream played the Fillmore East when it was called the "Village Theater" on September 20 & 23, 1967.[4] On Saturday, February 15, Chuck Berry took the stage as headliner with Johnny Winter (billed simply as “Winter”), British blues-rock band Savoy Brown, and Aorta as the supporting acts. It was a treat for New Yorkers to see the legend at their beloved Fillmore East. The evening’s shows were noteworthy not only for Berry’s knock-’em-dead sets, with Reality Sandwich, a NYC rock band, superbly laying down the beat, but also for the rare four-act bill. The following weekend, February 21-22, 1969, The Mothers of Invention, Buddy Miles Express, and Chicago played on the same bill. The Kinks played October 17 & 18, 1969, supported by the Bonzo Dog Band. Ike & Tina Turner played on January 9 & 10, 1970, supported by Fats Domino.[5][6]

John Lennon and Yoko Ono sat in with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at the theater on June 6, 1971. The Allman Brothers Band played so many shows at Fillmore East that they were sometimes called "Bill Graham's house band"; additionally, the Grateful Dead played a total of 43 concerts at the theater from June 1968 through April 1971. Jefferson Airplane performed six shows and Taj Mahal played eight shows at the venue, while Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young did four shows in September 1969 and six performances in June 1970.[7][8] Led Zeppelin made four appearances in early 1969, opening for Iron Butterfly. Amateur film footage of their January 31 performance can be viewed at the Led Zeppelin website.[9]

The Joshua Light Show, headed by Joshua White, was an integral part of many performances, with its psychedelic art lighting on a backdrop behind many live bands.[10] From the summer of 1970, the Pig Light Show, under the direction of Marc L. Rubinstein, performed at the theater, becoming the de facto house light show.

National Educational Television taped a show on September 23, 1970, for broadcast. It featured The Byrds, Elvin Bishop Group, Albert King, Sha Na Na, Van Morrison with psychedelic light show by Joe's Lights (what The Joshua Light Show became known as after Joshua left in 1970). The Allman Brothers were also taped for broadcast but due to technical difficulties, the segment with them was not aired. The show, "Welcome To Fillmore East" was aired on WNET channel 13 in NYC and simulcast on WNEW-FM radio on October 10, 1970, at 10:00 pm in the NYC area. A thirty-minute clip from that show of the Allmans can be seen on YouTube.[11]

Live albums[edit]

Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers on the Fillmore East's final weekend[12]

As the Bill Graham's original Fillmore Auditorium on the West Coast, the Fillmore East quickly became an important venue on the fledgling rock music circuit in the late sixties. Because of its excellent acoustics, the enthusiastic and attentive audiences and Graham's innovative way of handling the concert environment, the hall became a favorite spot for the recording of many live albums. Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts, on why they recorded their first live album there: 'We realized that we got a better sound live and that we're a live band...And we realized that the audience was a big part of what we did...There was no question about where to record a concert. New York crowds have always been great, but what made the Fillmore special was Bill Graham. He was the best promoter rock has ever had and you could feel his influence in every little single thing at the Fillmore. It was just special. The bands felt it and the crowd felt it and it lit all of us up. The Fillmore was the high octane gig to play in New York - or anywhere else, really...It was a great sounding room with a great crowd...The Fillmores were so professionally run, compared to anything else at the time. And he would gamble on acts, bringing in jazz and blues...and he had taken a chance on the Brothers.'[13]

The list includes:


This signpost, along with a plaque on the façade, mark the former location of the Fillmore East.

Because of changes in the music industry and large growth in the concert industry, as exemplified by the increased prevalence of arena and stadium bookings, Graham closed the Fillmore East after only three years. The final concert took place on June 27, 1971, with three billed acts, The Allman Brothers Band, The J. Geils Band, Albert King, and special surprise guests Edgar Winter's White Trash, Mountain, The Beach Boys, Country Joe McDonald in an invitation-only performance.[38]

The concert was simulcast live by New York City radio stations WPLJ and WNEW-FM, with between-set banter by many of New York City's then-trend-setting disc jockeys, including WPLJ's Dave Herman and Vin Scelsa and WNEW-FM's Scott Muni and Alison Steele.

The Allman Brothers Band set was released as the second disc of the deluxe edition/remastered version of their Eat a Peach (1972 and 2006) album.

In 2014, a six-disc set featuring the Allman Brothers Band's early and late shows at the Fillmore East from March 12 and 13, 1971, including their performance on the venue's final night of June 27, 1971, was issued as The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings.


A plaque commemorating the venue, unveiled on October 29, 2015, by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

On November 17, 1972, the Fillmore East reopened as Villageast with "Virgin: A New Rock Opera Concert by The Mission". After a short run the Rock Opera closed and on December 15, 1972, Jerry Fuchs presented the opening night of concerts with a performance featuring Bloodrock, Elephants Memory, and Trapeze. On December 16, 1972, the bill was Bloodrock, Foghat and The Fabulous Rhinestones. Fuchs went on to present several other concerts at Villageast, including the New York Dolls and Teenage Lust on December 23, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley on December 27, Steve Miller Band and Seatrain on December 28, and Roy Buchanan and Crazy Horse on December 30 and 31, 1972.

On December 7, 1974, Barry Stuart (Stein), reopened the venue as the NFE Theatre ("NFE" stood for "New Fillmore East") with a concert presenting Bachman-Turner Overdrive.[39] On December 31, 1974, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue headlined a bill that included Quicksilver Messenger Service and Hidden Strength.[40] It operated through 1975, but was renamed the "Village East", supposedly due to objections from Bill Graham over the use of the Fillmore name.

From 1980 to 1988, the renovated venue was home to The Saint, an early gay superclub. As of 2013, the former lobby building is owned by Apple Bank,[41] which has a branch at street level, and the rest of the interior of the auditorium has been demolished and replaced with an apartment complex, Hudson East, with its entrance at 225 East 6th Street.[42] The building at 105 Second Avenue is now part of the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District, created in October 2012.[2]

In October 2014, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation unveiled a historic plaque on the building at a ceremony featuring Joshua White of the Joshua Light Show and critic/guitarist Lenny Kaye.[43]

Live Nation resurrected the Fillmore East name by rebranding the renovated Irving Plaza as "The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza" on April 11, 2007, with English pop music singer and songwriter Lily Allen as the opening act.[44] However, in May 2010 Live Nation conceded that the new name had not caught on and due to "unrelenting demand" the name "Irving Plaza" was restored beginning on June 23, 2010.[45]



  1. ^ a b White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5.
  2. ^ a b Brazee, Christopher D., et al. "East Village/Lower East Side Historic District Designation Report" New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (October 9, 2012)
  3. ^ Shelton, Robert. "7,500 Attend Concerts at the Fillmore East." The New York Times, April 1, 1968, p. 56.
  4. ^ Cream by Chris Welch
  5. ^ The Fillmore East: Recollections of Rock Theater. Schirmer Books. 1995. ISBN 978-0-02-871847-7.
  6. ^ Bookstein, Ezra (2015). The Smith Tapes: Lost Interviews with Rock Stars & Icons 1969-1972. Chronicle Books. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-61689-485-6.
  7. ^ "Show Listings". Fillmore East Preservation Society. n.d. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
  8. ^ "Neil Young".
  9. ^ "Fillmore East – Jan 31, 1969" on
  10. ^ Del Signore, John, Joshua White, "The Joshua Light Show" Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Gothamist, April 2, 2007.
  11. ^ PBS Channel 13 in NYC area is WNET not WNDT
  12. ^ "The Night They Closed the Fillmore Down – Duane Allman".
  13. ^ Paul, Alan (2014). One Way Out - The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band, pg. 117, St. Martins Griffin, NYC, ISBN 978-1-250-04050-3.
  14. ^ "At Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  15. ^ "Remember when David Reid remembered Duane Allman?". FuzzyCo.
  16. ^ "Eat a Peach - The Allman Brothers Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  17. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Fillmore East, February 1970".
  18. ^ "Allman Brothers Fillmore East February 1970". Owsley Stanley Foundation.
  19. ^ "The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings - The Allman Brothers Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  20. ^ see liner notes by John Lynskey
  21. ^ "At Fillmore East [Deluxe Edition] - The Allman Brothers Band | Release Info". AllMusic.
  22. ^ "Session details: Fillmore East Auditorium (March 7, 1970)".
  23. ^ "Session details: Fillmore East Auditorium (June 17, 1970)".
  24. ^ "Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 3 - Miles Davis | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  25. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)".
  26. ^ "Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses) - Grateful Dead | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  27. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Grateful Dead Dick's Picks".
  28. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: History Of The Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice)".
  29. ^ a b "Dick's Picks, Vol. 4: Fillmore East - Grateful Dead | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  30. ^ "Grateful Dead best Dark Star | headyversion".
  31. ^ "Live at Fillmore East 2-11-69 - Grateful Dead | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic" – via
  32. ^ "Grateful Dead best Hard to Handle | headyversion".
  33. ^ "Grateful Dead - Ladies & Gentlemen - Fillmore East - April 1971 (Album Review)".
  34. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Ladies And Gentleman ... The Grateful Dead".
  35. ^ "Grateful Dead - Road Trips, Vol. 3, No. 3: Fillmore East, 5/15/70 (Album Review)".
  36. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Road Trips: Vol 3, Number 3".
  37. ^ "The Who Live at the Fillmore East 1968".
  38. ^ Perkins, Willie. No saints, no saviors: my years with the Allman Brothers Band, pg. 57, Mercer University Press (2005), ISBN 0-86554-967-2
  39. ^ Rockwell, John (December 9, 1974). "Fillmore East, Clean, Pleasant And Promising, Rocks Again". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  40. ^ Rockwell, John (January 2, 1975). "Ike and Tina Turner at New Fillmore". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  41. ^ Apple Bank Acquisition of 29 Emigrant Bank branches in April 2013
  42. ^ Garbarine, Rachelle (March 7, 1997). "Apartments Rising on Site Of Fillmore East and Saint". The New York Times. Accessed April 30, 2010.
  43. ^ "Fillmore East Plaque Unveiling Event Video". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  44. ^ Huhn, Mary. "Get on the Bandwagoner" Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, New York Post, March 30, 2007. Accessed May 29, 2009.
  45. ^ Sisario, Ben (May 31, 2010). "Rethinking, Irving Plaza Keeps Its Maiden Name". New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2010.

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