Fillmore Film on DVD + Screening Show

 

It’ll help you keep
those lamps trimmed and burning, all you unreconstructed hippies!

By Fred Mills

 

 

Fans of vintage West Coast psychedelia and folk-rock with
long memories will often tell you, in hushed tones, of the 1972 documentary
film FILLMORE: The Last Days, released
by 20th Century Fox, which chronicled the concerts (and events
surrounding them) that marked the closing of the legendary Fillmore West in
1971. Groups such as the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service,
Santana and the Grateful Dead all jammed until the proverbial cows went home.

 

In ’72, also, Fillmore/CBS records also released a lavish
boxed set (25 tracks spread across 3 LPs plus a 7″ EP, along with a poster,
book and backstage pass) from the concerts that eventually became a collector’s
item. After it went out of print bootleggers took up the cause and it surfaced
in various forms over the years until Sony Legacy finally saw fit to put it out
as a two-CD; it’s still available and boasts very good remastered sound.

 

As with a lot of rock docs of the era (Woodstock et al), the Fillmore film captured a unique moment in
time that, depending on how cynical you are or how rose-tinted your lenses are,
was either a socio-cultural wash or a period to be celebrated. At any rate, the
documentary has long been a coveted item among VHS and, more recently, DVD-R
collectors and traders who’ve tapped the underground bootleg network to obtain
copies of the film – often grainy, 4th– and 5th-generation
copies (initially taken from original reels but subsequently dubbed and
re-dubbed) that’d turn your 20/20 vision into mush.

 

Now, though, word arrives that on Nov. 11, Rhino will
finally reissue the film for the first time on DVD. A full tracklisting of
artists and performances can be found below. Meanwhile, here’s the scoop from
the label:

 

 

 

When the legendary
rock impresario Bill Graham closed the Fillmore West in 1971, the San Francisco venue had
become an institution, an integral part of the West Coast music scene in the
’60s. Always the showman, Graham made sure the Fillmore West was sent off in a
blaze of glory, scheduling five nights of concerts featuring bands, like the
Grateful Dead and Santana that got their start at this storied concert hall.
Both the madness leading up to the shows and the concerts were filmed for
FILLMORE:
The Last Days, a documentary originally
released in 1972.

 

The film stands as a
vivid time capsule that captures an era in rock history when music had become a
major industry and‹for some‹a huge headache. It delivers a gritty,
behind-the-scenes look at the music business at a time when many artists were
growing jaded by their success, demanding more and more. Disillusioned by the
change, Graham decided to get out, pulling the curtain down with five days of
concerts that ended on July 4, 1971.
 

In the end, the
frantic preparations paid off with a host of marvelous performances from a
range of artists who made up what was called “The San Francisco
Sound.”
FILLMORE: The Last Days features highlights from all five nights, including songs by the Grateful Dead
(“Casey Jones,” “Johnny B. Goode”); Santana (“Incident
At Neshabur,” “In A Silent Way”); Quicksilver Messenger Service
(“Mojo,” “Fresh Air”); Jefferson Airplane
(“Volunteers” / “We Can Be So Good Together”); along with
performances by Boz Scaggs, Cold Blood, Hot Tuna, and Lamb.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, prior to its DVD release, FILLMORE: The Last Days
will screen in part at the Mill Valley Film Festival on October 3 at 8 p.m. The
festival will present specially chosen clips from the 1972 concert film. The
clips, introduced by author and original Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres
(who also wrote the liner notes for the DVD, include performances by Boz
Skaggs, Grateful Dead, Santana & Quicksilver Messenger Service.

 

The evening will also include an all-star panel of music professionals
who will offer a detailed, backstage point of view on the events at the
Fillmore and a live performance in tribute to FILLMORE: The Last Days. It will include a full set of live music
with house band Moonalice, featuring G.E. Smith, Jack Casady, Barry Sless, Pete
Sears, Ann McNamee, Roger McNamee, Jimmy Sanchez, and invited guests including
Ray Manzarek, Elvin Bishop, Dan Hicks, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane, Lydia
Pense of Cold Blood, Josh Clark and Trevor Garrod of Tea Leaf Green, and Dan
Lebowitz of ALO. (For full ticket information, directions and additional screening
times, visit www.mvff.com.)
 
 

FILLMORE:
The Last Days
Track Listing:

 
“Hello Friends” ­ Lamb
“You Got Me Hummin'” ­ Cold Blood
“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” ­ Cold Blood
“Hollywood Blues” ­ Boz Scaggs
“I’ll Be Long Gone” ­ Boz Scaggs
“Candy Man” ­ Hot Tuna
“Uncle Sam Blues” ­ Hot Tuna
Rehearsal Jam ­ The Rowan Brothers 
“Isn’t It Just A Beautiful Day” ­ Lamb
“Fresh Air” ­ Quicksilver Messenger Service
“Mojo” – Quicksilver Messenger Service
“Volunteers”/ “We Can Be So Good Together” ­ Jefferson
Airplane
“Noodle” ­ Jerry Garcia           
Rehearsal Jam ­ Jerry Garcia with The New Riders Of The Purple Sage
“Casey Jones” ­ Grateful Dead
“Johnny B. Goode” ­ Grateful Dead
“White Bird” ­ It’s A Beautiful Day
“The Sky Is Crying” ­ The Elvin Bishop Group
“Incident At Neshabur” ­ Santana
“In A Silent Way”/ “Jam” ­ Santana
“In A Silent Way” ­ Santana
 

 

 

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