From the Fillmore to the Beacon: The Allman Brothers Band
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Remember that Boogie back to the Fillmore East?
On June 27, 1971, after arguably the most influential three years in the history of rock n roll, the Fillmore East took its last bow. This comparably small concert hall at 105 Second Avenue left proverbial footprints large enough to rival those of Radio City and the Beacon; after you read this, you’ll know why.
Well, being that it is currently the Allman Brothers Band’s annual run (since 1989 and save for 2010 when Cirque de Soleil kicked ’em out) at the Beacon Theater, I figured a tie-in was necessary.
An excerpt of a letter I wrote in 2011 to the Peach Corps (yes, Peach, not Peace):
…Walking back into the Beacon again last week was an indescribable feeling. We (my dad and I) turned to each other and said “welcome home”…on Saturday, we went to the the building that once was the Fillmore East, stood outside, sang “Back Where It All Began” as loud as we could. Sure, it’s a bank now and people thought we were kind of nuts, but we had to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Fillmore East album!
The Allmans have so much history in NYC, but the Fillmore East was only open for 3 years so where, oh where is their history?
How about we leave Lower East Side and take a field trip to the Upper West Side?
Say hello to a home away from home, the once Vaudeville, 2,894-seat, three-tiered Beacon Theater.
Some fast facts from their website:
- The Beacon Theatre is the “older sister” to Radio City Music Hall. Both legendary venues were the “brainchild” of Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, the great theatrical impresario and visionary of his time.
- Roxy Rothafel had identical dreams for both theaters. He believed that both the Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall should become an “International Music Hall” theater, to present live entertainment acts and present cultural and popular events.
- Designed by Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager in the Art Deco style, the Beacon Theatre opened in 1929 as a forum for vaudeville acts, musical productions, drama, opera, and movies.
- Known for its flawless acoustics, the Beacon has been a favored New York City stop for top acts since the Roaring Twenties. Remarkably, the original sound-system still provides near-perfect acoustics today.
- In 1979, the historic venue was designated a national landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- A 1986 proposal to convert the 2,600-seat, three-tiered theatre into a disco was blocked when a judge ruled the change would irreparably damage the building’s architecture.
- The Allman Brothers hold an annual rite of spring concert series at the Beacon Theatre known as “The Beacon Run.” Since 1989, they have performed 173 shows at the Beacon.
And now for the best part; The Beacon in pictures:
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If you want to see more of the band or the audience (or me and my dad), just ask. As far as this piece goes, showing you the the architecture and the interior from my POV because it is breathtaking (the interior or my POV, your choice).
In 2008, the Beacon underwent a complete restoration. It had been untouched since it was built in 1929. Check out this slideshow from The New York Times documenting that transformation. Pretty dope pics.
We can venture back to Loisaida now. Thanks for taking a trip with me.