50 Years Later, The Who Revisits the Fillmore East with ‘Live’ Album
The Who in its prime, on the last leg of a world tour, stopped in New York City on April 4, 1968. The four-piece British outfit spent the next two nights on the Lower East Side for back-to-back shows at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East on Second Avenue. Now, fifty years later, an official album release is on the way.
Longtime engineer for The Who, Bob Pridden (responsible for sound on those two nights), remastered the original four-track tapes salvaged from the second performance. (Faulty equipment and human error resulted in a partial recording of the first night). Universal Music will release the anniversary album on double-CD and triple vinyl.
Built in 1925 as a Yiddish-American vaudeville theater and film venue called the Commodore Theatre, the building was designed by Harrison G. Wiseman. The interior housed Corinthian columns, painted murals, and a proscenium arch. With 2,830 seats and a single screen, The Commodore became part of the famed Loews chain (never designated a Loews Wonder Theatre, but that may have been a mistake) as the Loews Commodore, and later, the Village Theater. After its Fillmore flirtation, Second Avenue became a gay nightclub called The Saint. Several years later, it shifted gears entirely and morphed into a bank, first Emigrant, then followed by Apple Bank.
Here are some snippets from the media blast:
The venue had only just re-opened in March by Graham from its previous incarnation as the Village Theatre where the band had played on a couple of occasions the year before. The Who was the first British rock act to headline the Fillmore East and were booked to play four shows over the two nights. However, because of feared social unrest in the wake of Dr King’s assassination, it was decided to compact the shows into one per night.
The Who’s time in New York City in 1968 can best be described as ‘lively’. Keith Moon’s antics with cherry bomb explosives had meant that the band had to move hotels. When installed in at the plush Waldorf Astoria he then somehow managed to a blow a door off its hinges, and the band had to move once more.
On the morning of the Fillmore rehearsal, the band was photographed for Life magazine and legend has it that the band was so tired from Moon’s antics that they nodded out under the large Union Jack draped over them at the base of the Carl Schurz Monument in Morningside Park. This iconic image was later used as the cover and poster for The Who’s classic film The Kids Are Alright.
The Who Live at the Fillmore East 1968 Track List…
1. “Summertime Blues”
2. “Fortune Teller”
4. “Little Billy”
5. “I Can’t Explain”
6. “Happy Jack”
8. “I’m A Boy”
9. “A Quick One”
10. “My Way”
11. “C’mon Everybody”
12. “Shakin’ All Over”
13. “Boris The Spider”
1. “My Generation”