his film, originally released in 1972, comes off as a raw look into Bill Graham’s last shows at his landmark Fillmore West venue in San Francisco.
Videos by American Songwriter
[Rating: 3.5 star]
This film, originally released in 1972, comes off as a raw look into Bill Graham’s last shows at his landmark Fillmore West venue in San Francisco. While many of the mini-episodes between concert footage appear unfiltered, you start to feel that Graham’s very aware of the cameras and putting on a little show of his own. And, by the end of the viewing, you sit back and smile, that in a way, Bill Graham was the show, the driving force behind so many legendary shows. His influence and venues helped to vault acts to bigger and better shows. But, eventually, as Graham expresses in this film, the generation of the Haight-Ashbury grew disappointed when flowers didn’t fill the streets, and the great acts he helped promote in their infancy also grew, and became businesses in themselves. “I’m getting out!” he screams to someone on the other end of the phone. The demands were too much and the reward too little to keep the Fillmore running in the long run, yet the memories were, and remain, priceless. The glimpses here, of the incredible sets by Lamb, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, The Grateful Dead and more stand as a testament to venue, and to the energies of Bill Graham.