|FILLMORE EAST & FILLMORE WEST POSTERS|
Bill Graham's Fillmore and Fillmore East helped catapult the matching-suits, rock 'n roll 1950s into the flower-power rock-band sixties and beyond. From their vantage points in San Francisco and New York City, the Fillmores were the bookends of a socially responsive, youth-culture genre that dragged popular music out of the high school gym and onto the concert stage. In their relatively short existences, the Fillmore and Fillmore East became the destination and ultimate dream of every garage band that could plug in an amp and created a new performance experience: the rock concert. The concerts generated the rock concert poster, and Fillmore posters from those early days have become coveted keepsakes of a remarkable era.
The Fillmore, Graham's first solo venture, was located on Geary and Fillmore at the epicenter of the West Coast counter-culture phenomenon. Evenings at the Fillmore were eclectic fare of poetry readings, live bands and dancing, and Graham both introduced respected musicians like Otis Rush, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Otis Redding to new audiences and showcased new groups like the Grateful Dead, The Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Social decline in the surrounding neighborhood convinced Graham to move his concerts to safer ground, and he closed the Fillmore on July 4, 1968 with a concert featuring Steppenwolf, Credence Clearwater Revival and It's A Beautiful Day. The Carousel Ballroom, later renamed the Fillmore Auditorium, and Winterland were larger venues that seamlessly replaced the Fillmore.
The Fillmore East opened in the East Village in March, 1968 and soon became the "... church of rock and roll." Quiet by day, the venue became a "... pulsating... organism" by night and was the site of spectacular, two-show concerts three or four nights a week. The light shows at the Fillmore East were cutting edge and the atmosphere so electric that Live at the Fillmore albums were cut from concert recordings. Fillmore East rock posters, handbills and programs were routinely ripped from telephone poles and fished from trash bins as mementos of special concerts, but this venue, like the Fillmore, was destined for a short life. Changes in the music industry induced Graham to close the Fillmore East on June 27, 1971, the grand-finale concert of a month-long celebration featuring Graham's favorites and stars.