Walking down memory lane – Second Avenue and 6th Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to be exact – I pass an Emigrant Bank and look inside. It is like any other bank – without soul but its entrance is filled with ghosts. I see Jim Morrison, Tim Buckley, Janis Joplin. In fact, that’s where I literally saw them live and in person – and there were many more Sixties greats – Johnny Winter, Joan Baez, The Troggs. That entrance, originally the lobby of an old Loew’s Commodore Theater, was the vestibule of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East (above which was the office of The East Village Other).
I went to the first Fillmore East show. Sly and the Family Stone warmed up for Jimi Hendrix. The Joshua Light Show projected a reproduction of R. Crumb’s cover for Big Brother and the Holding Company’s “Cheap Thrills.” Great seats were had nearly every Saturday night and when I became an “art director” for an underground paper (see tomorrow’s Daily Heller), I earned a press card that got me in for free (front row seats, no less). Only a block away was the Andersen Theater and two blocks north, the Electric Circus served up some great groups too (i.e. Moby Grape). And rock was never more than $3, $4 and $5 a seat.