I love the Sound Opinions podcast from music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot and listen to it every week. Last week they did a great show where they broke down their favorite live albums of all times. As usual I learned a few things and discovered some music (in this case the Ani Difranco album). But guys, how do you not even mention the live music that promoter extraordinaire Bill Graham gave us from his Fillmore East Club in the East Village?
We still have great albums coming out of the re-opened Fillmore West – check out Lucinda Williams Live @ The Fillmore double CD, and the 60s produced some killer stuff by Santana, Chuck Berry and the Jefferson Airplane on the west coast. But to me the Golden Age of Live Recordings occurred in New York at the Fillmore East in the roughly year and a half after New Years Eve 69-70 when Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies the recorded their incredible live album Live At The Fillmore East. Two months later Alvin Lee and Ten Years After made a seminal live album Live At The Filmore East, and in March Neil brought his new band Crazy Horse down to work the kinks out of Down by the River and Cortez the Killer, which was only released recently as Live At The Fillmore East as part of Neil’s archive project. Later in the year Clapton came by and recorded his amazing Derek and the Dominos Live album Live At The Fillmore. In April of the following year the Dead recorded 5 shows there that turned into Ladies And Gentlemen…The Grateful Dead: Fillmore East, New York City, April 1971. Frank Zappa brought the Mothers and closed out the run in June 1971 with a solid live album shortly before the venue closed. And of course what is in my opinion the greatest live rock and roll recording ever made – The Allman Brothers Band “At Fillmore East” (rereleased as The Fillmore Concerts) which was recorded in March 1971.
Other notables who made great live records at the Fillmore were Aretha, John Mayall, John and Yoko, Miles Davis and the Byrds.
Some of the greatest live guitar solos ever recorded happened on Second and Sixth in Manhattan in that 18 month period, and damn it Jim and Greg, you blew it by not including them in your show.