Fifty Years on, Jimi Hendrix Fillmore East Shows Get Box Set Treatment
More legendary music from the days of the Fillmore East is out of the vault.
Fifty years ago, the Band of Gypsys (Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Jimi Hendrix) played four memorable debut gigs at the Fillmore — two on New Year’s Eve and two on New Year’s Day in 1969 and 1970. The recordings from these shows later served as a platter for Jimi Hendrix to cherry pick raw material from, and transform it into what would become his live album Band of Gypsys, released in March of 1970.
Later that year, Hendrix would go on to throw a party at 52 West 8th Street to commemorate the opening of his own Electric Lady Studios of which many Lower East Side and East Village bohemians (i.e. Patti Smith) would cross paths in its stairwell.
The original output from the four Fillmore shows contain previously unreleased recordings, unedited cuts, and out-of-print tunes, all wrapped up in a new box set called Songs for Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts. It’s out now digitally, as five-CD set, or an eight-LP set.
Bill Graham opened the historic theater in 1968 as the East Coast sister to San Francisco, and attracted a slew of legacy performers in their prime. Other artists who graced the stage, among others, were Pink Floyd, The Doors, Allman Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, etc.
Built in 1925 as a Yiddish American vaudeville theater and film space called the Commodore Theatre, the building was designed by Harrison G. Wiseman. The inside housed Corinthian columns, painted murals, and proscenium arch. With 2,830 seats and a single screen, The Commodore became part of the famed Loew’s chain as the Loews Commodore, and later, the Village Theater.
After its Fillmore flirtation, 105 Second Avenue became the gay nightclub The Saint. And then a bank – Emigrant followed by Apple Bank.