Various Artists

Fillmore: The Last Days

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When the venerable San Francisco rock & roll mecca the Fillmore West packed it in on the Forth of July 1971 an era in pop music history had also passed. Dancehall keeper Bill "Uncle Bobo" Graham -- under whose meticulous supervision the venue flourished -- held a wake and hand-picked a select few locals to give the Fillmore its last musical rights. Fillmore: The Last Days -- containing highlights recorded during the final week of performances -- was issued as the soundtrack to a likewise-titled feature-length 1972 documentary. The original three-LP box set also included a bonus 7" record containing over a quarter-hour's worth of "Words With Bill Graham." The deluxe packaging was endowed with an original "closing week" poster as well as a used ticket from one of the hundreds of legendary shows held in the Fillmore between November 6, 1965, and July 4, 1971. Plus, as if that weren't enough, there was a commemorative liner notes booklet, which among with other things included a complete list of every show held at the venue. The discs feature a who's who of rock music circa 1971, most -- if not all -- of whom began their collective journey's in the Bay Area music scene at the time. The Grateful Dead ("Casey Jones" and "Johnny B. Goode"), Quicksilver Messenger Service ("Fresh Air" and " "Mojo"), as well as Santana ("Incident at Neshabur" and "In a Silent Way") all make strong showings as do some of the lesser-known artists such as Malo ("Pana") or Lamb ("Hello Friends"). Fillmore: The Last Days includes some amazing performances from It's a Beautiful Day ("White Bird") as well as the stunningly powerful "Baby's Calling Me Home" by Boz Scaggs -- no doubt an homage to his stint with the Steve Miller Blues Band -- plus a definitive version of "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burnin'" from Hot Tuna -- who are the only representatives from the Jefferson Airplane, perhaps the one San Francisco band who is most conspicuously absent from the proceedings. The "Words With Bill Graham" interview allows Graham to personally express his thanks to the people who made the Fillmore such a success and to give some insight into the changing dynamics (read: money and drugs) that so radically altered his ability to adequately provide both artist and attendee with the same high-quality performance and venue for a reasonable price.

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