On Independence Day in 1971, the Fillmore West closed its doors, leaving a Bay Area landmark in its wake. During the closing week, proprietor Bill "Uncle Bobo" Graham selected a few of his favorite artists to help him send the venerable venue out in style. The festivities were documented on film and tape, the results of which were issued the ...
On Independence Day in 1971, the Fillmore West closed its doors, leaving a Bay Area landmark in its wake. During the closing week, proprietor Bill "Uncle Bobo" Graham selected a few of his favorite artists to help him send the venerable venue out in style. The festivities were documented on film and tape, the results of which were issued the following year as both a full-length cinematic feature film and three-LP box set. The latter also featuring a bonus 7" record containing a few "Words with Bill Graham." Initial pressings also came packaged with an original "closing week" poster, a ticket from one of the hundreds of legendary shows held in the Fillmore between November 6, 1965, and July 4, 1971, as well as a commemorative liner notes booklet, which, among other things, included a complete list of every show held at the venue. Musically, the discs feature a who's who of rock music circa 1971, most -- if not all -- of whom began their collective journeys in the Bay Area music scene at the time. The Grateful Dead ("Casey Jones" and "Johnny B. Goode"), Quicksilver Messenger Service" ("Fresh Air" and "Mojo"), and Santana ("Incident at Neshabur" and "In a Silent Way") all make strong showings. As do some of the lesser-known artists, such as Malo ("Pana") and Lamb ("Hello Friends"). Last Days of the Fillmore includes some amazing performances from It's a Beautiful Day ("White Bird"), as well as the stunningly powerful "Baby's Calling Me Home" by Boz Scaggs -- no doubt an homage to his stint with the Steve Miller Band -- plus a definitive version of "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burnin'" from Hot Tuna -- who are the only representatives from the Jefferson Airplane, perhaps the one San Francisco band that is most conspicuously absent from the proceedings. The "Words with Bill Graham" interview allows Graham to personally express his thanks to the people who made the Fillmore such a success and to give some insight into the changing dynamics [read: money and drugs] that so radically altered his ability to adequately provide both artists and attendees with the same high-quality performances and venue for a reasonable price. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi
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