Today in Music: 03/08/19

Fillmore East, rock promotor Bill Graham‘s venue on the lower East Side of Manhattan, opened on March 8, 1968. Located at Second Avenue near East 6th Street, it featured some of the biggest acts in rock music at the time. The theatre at 105 Second Avenue that became the Fillmore East was originally built as a Yiddish theater circa 1925-26, a time when the section of Second Avenue was known as the “Yiddish Theater District” . Called the Commodore Theater, and independently operated, the building eventually became a movie theater, then later, the Village Theatre, owned by Roger Euster. When Bill Graham took over the theatre in 1968, it had fallen into disrepair. Despite the deceptively small marquee and facade, the theater had a capacity of almost 2,700. The venue provided Graham with an East Coast counterpart to his existing Fillmore in San Francisco, California. 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. Among the notable acts to play the Fillmore East:  Jimi Hendrix,  The Kinks, John Lennon and Yoko Ono sat in with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at the theater in June 1971, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. 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. Fillmore East closed on June 27, 1971. #fillmoreeast #fillmore #billgraham #lowereastside #manhattan #secondave #rockmusic #yiddishtheater #commodoretheater #sanfrancisco #rockandroll #churchofrockandroll #jimihendrix #thekinks #johnlennon #yokoono #frankzappa #mothersofinvention #jeffersonairplane #ledzeppelin #crosbystillsnashandyoung #allmanbrothersband #gratefuldead #concerts #venues #nyc #tonyatlarge #eclectimaniacradioshow #todayinmusic #musichistory
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