Closing of the Fillmore East - 1971

Poster by David Byrd for the Closing of the Fillmore East, June 1971. Final poster for the Fillmore East

David Byrd


Closing of the Fillmore East, 1971


First printing, lithograph, Condition: Excellent


31 1/4" tall x 24 3/8" wide





Closing of the Fillmore East Close-up of frame

Closing of the Fillmore East Close-up of frame at angle


This poster by David Byrd advertised the last month of Bill Graham shows at the Fillmore East. This central portion is surrounded by the names of most of the bands that played the Fillmore East. This poster was printed on thin, poor-quality paper and so this piece has been backed with archival linen to protect it.



The Fillmore East was a companion to Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium, and its successor, the Fillmore West, in San Francisco, Graham's home base.



When Bill Graham took over the Village 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.   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 at 8 pm and 11 pm.


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.



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. Later, the Pig Light Show and Joe’s Lights, made up of former members of the Joshua Light Show, also provided trademark light shows behind the bands.



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.



The concert was simulcast live by New York City radio stations WPLJ and WNEW-FM, with between-set banter by New York disc jockeys Dave Herman, Vin Scelsa, Scott Muni, and others.

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