Duane Allman


The Night They Closed the Fillmore Down

by Rowland Archer

Originally published in Hittin’ The Note Magazine

The last night at the Fillmore East. It’s been called “The Holy Grail of Allman Brothers
Band shows.” The night the fan who shouted, “Play all night!” on the live Fillmore East
album got his wish. Dickey has been quoted as calling it the best show they ever played.
The fact that there are no known recordings of this show only adds to the mystique. If
you were there, you heard it. If you weren’t, you can only listen to shows from that era
and imagine one that went on for hours, ending with a stupendous jam. Kirk West says,
“they had the recording equipment there but no one turned it on.” Can you imagine? The
closing concert at the Fillmore East and no one recorded it?! Perhaps, locked away in
some secret vault in the Bill Graham organization, lies a tape, waiting for the right
moment to surface. Or perhaps it’s in some fan’s attic, long forgotten, oxide slowly
turning to dust with the memories.

If you have the tape from the FM broadcast of June 27, 1971, it’s a helluva show, but
that’s not the “Grail.” Read on and you’ll see the whole story from the perspective of
someone who was lucky enough to be there, in the right time, at the right place.
Come back with me to 1971. It’s my senior year at Ossining High School, about 25 miles
north of New York City. What a powerful time of change in my life! The friends I made
that years helped me get in touch with music and myself. One of my closest high school
friends, Dave Jaffe, a.k.a. “Dee-troit Willie,” introduced me to the Allman Brothers Band,
radical politics, bluegrass, social consciousness, and women . . . a heady mix indeed! It
seemed like music was the background for everything we did. We talked about music,
listened to music, hung out with friends who made music.

We accompanied them with the finest in body percussion. Above all, we would go to
concerts as often as our limited budgets could stand.

Going to a concert was so much more than just going to hear a band. It was a group
social event. Five or six friends jammed into a car, passing food and refreshments
around, playing tapes, singing along, journeying to Deepest Darkest New York City!
We’d pay double at the toll booths and say “the extra is for the car behind us,” who was
of course a total stranger. We must have driven them crazy wondering who we were!
One day in early ’70, Detroit tossed a new album on the record changer and said “listen
to this!” I picked up the album . . . hmmmm, ATCO, good R&B and soul music, right? I
opened it up and there’s this lush green outdoor scene with a bunch of skinny grinning
guys, naked in a stream . . . cool! The needle swung over and landed on the first cut . . .
“dah dum de dum dummmmm . . . BOOM!” Wow! That sure got my attention! I sat
riveted through “Don’t Want You No More,” closing my eyes and soaring along with the
music . . . through the crashing finale, slowly building up into the next song . . . then the
first sounds from Gregg: “yay-eee-yeahhhhh yeahhh!” Who is that singer?! What a set of
pipes! Not that skinny guy on the album cover? Where’s he hidin’ that voice?!

I’ll bet more than a few of you had a similar experience! Forty five minutes later and the
Allman Brothers were immediately added to our concert “must-see” list. Detroit had first
“discovered” them at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY, on his own, before we
started to hang out together. Fortunately for us, the band visited New York frequently,
and we got to see them five times in my senior year.

After seeing a couple of shows, the Allmans became my favorite band. I loved their
albums but nothing matched seeing them live. To me there was music, and then there
was the Allman Brothers Band. No other band’s music reached out and grabbed my
heart and soul the way the Allmans’ did. I felt like they touched my emotions, the very
center of my being, directly and personally. When Duane played a solo, I knew exactly
what he was feeling.

I enjoyed other concerts, but they were just artists belting out their hits, impressing us
with their musical talent, getting us on our feet, dancing and yelling. But none of them
made me close my eyes tight and feel the emotions jamming in my brain, down my
spine, clenching the muscles in my legs, right into the soles of my feet. No other
musicians made me feel so connected to their souls as they played. It was like the
difference between acting and living. Other bands seemed to be aware of the fact that
they were on a stage and making music. The Allmans seemed to be living and feeling
the things they were playing right there in front of us.

So, did I mention that I really liked the Allman Brothers?!

We went to a lot of shows, indoors and out, but our favorite spot by far was Bill
Graham’s Fillmore East. The Fillmore was a concert hall in the old tradition, seating only
a few thousand people. There was a balcony and three sections of theater-style seats.
The Fillmore staff allowed us to bring in our own munchies, and we always had a mix of
healthy food and junk food: brownies, apples, carrots, cookies, you name it.

The ushers at the Fillmore kept busy running around the theater shining flashlights on
people flaunting the “no smoking” laws, but there was always plenty of olfactory
evidence that the cigarette lighters were winning the battle with the ushers.
The Fillmore had wonderful acoustics, something sadly missing from most concert
experiences these days. Who decided that rock music sounds fine in amphitheater
sheds, football stadiums, and gymnasiums, anyway? It’s great that the Brothers still play
real theaters like the Beacon and the Warfield even though they could make more
money filling a 20,000 seat amphitheater.

Most Fillmore concerts had light shows, often put on by Joshua Light Shows. I hadn’t
seen a light show in years until I saw the Brothers at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC, on
Oct. 26, 1991. As night crept into the sky, the giant screen behind them lit up with
swirling colors and I was transported back to those nights at the Fillmore! Thanks guys,
it’s a great touch!

The Fillmore East was nestled in New York’s East Village, where the real hippies moved
when Greenwich Village went commercial. You couldn’t walk a block in the East Village
without getting hustled for dope or spare change. It was downright seedy, even by New
York’s standards. But traveling in a group of five or six, we were probably relatively safe.
And on concert nights, the streets were full of other kids streaming in from the suburbs,
all trying to look like they lived in the East Village.

The NY music scene was hot; we were proud of it, and we took it for granted. And so we
couldn’t have been more surprised that day in early spring ’71 when Detroit read the
news: “You won’t believe this: Bill Graham’s closing the Fillmore!”

Impossible! Bill Graham and the Fillmore were synonymous with rock concerts at their
finest. Why on earth would he quit? The news reports over the next couple of weeks told
the story of a burned out, jaded Bill Graham who was weary of the hassles of rock
concert promotion. The bands were demanding more money, which he felt would price
them out of the market (imagine what he would say about some of last summer’s ticket
prices!). He said the crowds were getting unruly and were less knowledgeable and
selective about the music. He thought they were just “yelling for more” no matter how the
music sounded.

Slowly it sunk in that this was for real, and that there would soon be a “last night at the
Fillmore.” We got the news of the final stand: there would be four public concerts, a late
and early show each night, on Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26th; and then an
“invited guests only” private concert on June 27th that would be broadcast over the
radio. The bands for the public shows would be: Albert King, the J. Geils Band, and
headlining, the Allman Brothers Band. Talk about mixed emotions . . . the joy of seeing
the Brothers honored as the last band to play the Fillmore East, mixed with the sadness
of seeing the place closing down. Well, if the Fillmore had to close, at least we would be
closing it down hittin’ the note.

At the ages of 16 and 17 our connections in the music business were not yet well
enough developed to pull an invitation to the private party on June 27th, so Detroit drew
ticket duty. There was no Ticketmaster in those days. Detroit just mailed in a ticket
request to the Fillmore and got us four seats for the last public show, the late show on
the 26th . . . in the fifth row on the left! Bless you, Detroit! How we got such good seats
by mail order, we’ll never know, but I’m sure we dipped well into our good karma bank
that day.

At last the week of the concert arrived. Fittingly, the Fillmore was not the only thing
coming to an end that week. It was also the week we graduated from high school. We
would go straight to the Fillmore after we graduated. Little did we know that we would be
going straight from school—to church!

Detroit had a few more musical tricks up his sleeve for us that week. We saw the
Rascals at Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY, one night. This was shortly
after they released Peaceful World, their pivotal album where they replaced their Top 40
hit sound with a mellow groovin’ rock and blues feel, with a horn section and extended

We went to the Fillmore twice that week; the first time we saw Rick Derringer, Albert
King and BB King. I believe Johnny Winter was scheduled but canceled out and Albert
was recruited at the last minute.

The night of high school graduation finally arrived. I had been an “A-track” student and
was not overly rebellious, but I was never very impressed with high school. I always felt
that I could be learning and doing things at a much greater pace outside the halls of high
school, but I was tradition bound enough to stick through and graduate. Going through
the ceremony to be with friends and celebrate finishing was fine with me, but putting on
a cap and gown was too much of an act of submission to the system that I was not
feeling a whole lot of admiration for at the time. On the night of graduation, I found
myself dressing in a wholly uncharacteristic way. I tied my shoulder length hair back in a
pony tail for the first time . . . put on black pants and a black turtleneck shirt . . . a pair of
shades . . . a ratty hat . . . and I was ready to go to my graduation!

I can look back in amusement at this “acting out” on my part, but at the time it felt very
liberating, letting everyone know that I was making the rules now! Let’s hear a rebel yell!
Graduation went by in a blur and we were concert bound! We piled into my red ’69
Camaro and headed south on Route 9, down to “The City.” By now we knew most of the
shortcuts and could get to lower Manhattan taking free roads the whole way. It was
always an adventure just finding a parking space somewhere near the Fillmore, but we
found one on a side street just a couple of blocks away, a good omen for the night to

Since we had reserved seats, there was no giant rush to be first in line for the late show.
We wandered up and hung out with a few thousand soul-mates under the old-fashioned,
lit up marquee advertising the last shows. The side doors opened and out poured the
early show crowd, a satisfied look on their faces. We knew that soon the front doors
would open and it would be our turn to pass into the magical world of music at the
Fillmore East for the very last time.

The Fillmore always gave out a program guide at the door, another nice touch dropped
by most venues long ago. It was usually printed in brown on white glossy stock. Tonight
the cover was gold. (Last fall at the Allman Brothers and Sisters Revival in Macon, I got
a chance to visit the Big House and saw a copy of the program for the first time in many
years, up on the far wall of Kirk’s Archives.) We filed inside and waving our prime tickets,
swaggered past several sets of helpful ushers, all the way up to the fifth row. Duane
would be standing right in front of us in a couple of hours! What great seats!

Now the excitement began to seriously mount. Rock music piped over the loudspeakers
whet our appetite for the show to start as the theater filled with other lucky hippies,
freaks, and young punks from the suburbs like us. The late show was scheduled to start
around 11 PM.

The lights went down in the house and on came the spots to highlight Albert King taking
off on a powerful set of electric blues. Although I don’t recall specifics, I do remember
thinking that he played pretty much the same set he had played earlier that week. I was
not very familiar with his work back then, but between Albert and B.B. King I was
developing a taste for the masters of the blues. The roots of the Allmans’ music were

After Albert’s show, the stage hands came out and got things ready for the J. Geils
Band. This was my first time seeing J. Geils, with Magic Dick on harp and Peter Wolf on
vocals. They put on a boiling hot performance, with J. Geils playing stinging electric
guitar, Peter Wolf strutting back and forth, then getting down on his knees and belting
out the lyrics to songs like “First I Look at the Purse.” Magic Dick played a driving blues
harp like his life depended on it. Little did I know that the next time I saw J. Geils, he
would be sitting in with Dickey during one song at the Carnegie Hall show in late
November that year, a few short weeks after Duane’s motorcycle accident.

The J. Geils band delivered over an hour of sizzling, flashy rock and roll. These guys
clearly knew that this was a special night. We wanted their show to go on forever, but
the real reason we were there that night couldn’t start until they finished. They went out
in a blaze of rock and roll guitar and harp glory, and the house lights came up again. It
was the roadies turn on stage, and now the excitement really began to build. We had
seen the Allmans enough times that we recognized most of the roadies. Once they took
over the stage it felt like the Allmans show had started at long last.

We drifted into conversation and time sped by. Then the audience noticed that the
roadies had left the stage; all the equipment was set up, but the house lights were still
on. Rhythmic applause, shouts of “come on!” and “let’s go!” filled the air with energy and
anticipation. When a song on the PA ended, the noise from the crowd would swell to a
peak, and then another song started . . . now I was saying it: “Come on! It’s time to start
the show!”

Then, in mid-song, the house lights went down. Folks, I’m sure you know the feeling; we
had just witnessed two excellent musical performances, but now the real excitement and
magic were in the air.

The noise of the crowd was building to a feverish pitch . . . shadows moving across
stage . . . a couple of riffs on the drums . . . then a spine tingling shot from a slide guitar .
. . yesss! That sweet magical sound was here again, a wide grin spread across our faces
. . . the Hammond B 3 sang out in the dark . . . a scale from the bass . . . then it got
quiet. A lone spotlight followed Bill Graham onto the stage. Even Bill was caught
between the emotion of closing down his concert hall and the excitement of introducing a
band he had come to love. He spoke for a minute . . . “and now, the Allman Brothers
Band!” “A one, a two, a one two three . . . da dah-dah dah DUM!” and the energy of
“Statesboro Blues” lifted us out of our seats. The stage was lit up in the blaze of floods,
the light show was swirling and pulsing behind Butch and Jaimoe, and we were up and
clapping and hollering! No gathering of converted sinners had it over this crowd, we
were going to make our last show at the Fillmore a night to remember.

Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East
Fillmore East, NYC, June 26, 1971, closing weekend – photo Ben Haller

The band powered into song after song from the early ’71 repertoire. Duane was usually
the only band member to talk between songs, and he only said a few words most of the
time. Yet here he was, just 24 years old, leading the band that was obviously a personal
favorite of Bill Graham’s, carefully chosen to close one of the world’s premier rock
concert halls.

Duane usually played with his eyes closed and mouth open. He kept his head down,
reddish-orange hair covering his face, as his fingers seemed to effortlessly close the connection
between his soul and his instrument. As we viewed it, he stood just to the right of
Gregg’s B 3, and would sometimes glance up to look over at Berry or Dickey. At times
he would walk over to where Dickey stood, near center stage, and they would stand
facing each other, trading piercing guitar riffs that made the hairs on the back of your
neck stand on end. At other times, he would stand right behind Dickey, and occasionally
Berry would walk over and join them, a trio of guitarists in a row, creating that driving,
wonderfully complex fabric of sound. Sometimes after one of these group efforts, their
usually serious expressions would change to broad grins. Yessss!

I don’t remember the order of the set list, but they played everything. To keep this article
flowing, I’ll talk about the songs without adding the continual caveat of “maybe it wasn’t
in exactly this order . . . .” But, if there are any historians reading, don’t assume this is
the definitive ordering of the set list, OK? However, I am certain that they started with
Statesboro Blues and ended with a jam!

Duane’s slide work on “Done Somebody Wrong” sent chills down my spine; if he played
any higher they would have had to evacuate the theater. In the early part of the show,
Duane’s solos were dominant. Dickey’s were shorter but always riveting and poignant.
As the night progressed, and the songs got longer, Dickey made it clear that he was
worthy of sharing the title “lead guitarist” with Duane. He stretched out in “Hot ’Lanta,”
and then really got to show his stuff with his carefully building solo in “Elizabeth Reed,” a
demonstration of musical foreplay that put Bolero to shame.

The pace eased with “Stormy Monday,” a showcase for Gregg’s gripping vocals and soul
searing work on the Hammond. “Best organ playing in rock and roll!” shouted Detroit in
my ear. Gregg switched to his electric piano for “One Way Out,” and Duane and Dickey
traded searing solos that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Berry played the role of the third guitarist, not a thudding, hidden part of the rhythm
section. I was constantly aware of Duane, Dickey, and Berry’s melody lines intertwining,
perfectly woven together, point, counterpoint, and contrapoint. The bass line, although in
a lower register, often seemed to be playing higher notes than the lead guitars, and it
was never lost in repetition. Listen to Berry throughout “Elizabeth Reed” on the Fillmore
East album. Berry could have settled in and just played a background bass line, there’s
plenty going on with Duane and Dickey, but he contributes beautifully and blends in
perfectly. If you find your head bouncing along in time to the song, I bet you’re in tune
with Berry!

I loved this delicious interplay between Duane, Dickey, and Berry. Whenever a new fan
would ask “why do they have two lead guitars?” I’d always point out that there were
really three, just listen!

Dickey’s solo skills shone again on the long version of “You Don’t Love Me” as he led
the band through changes, taking the song far afield from the original theme and then
bringing it back home again. The band joined in for a strong finish at the very end of
Duane’s “Joy to The World” licks, and all the lights went out except for a white beam
striking the rotating mirror ball and sending splinters of light dancing around the hall.
Through practically the entire concert, Bill Graham stood in the wings, on the right side
of the stage, peering at the band intently, absorbed in the music. We were used to
seeing Bill pop out at that side of the stage for a few minutes during many Fillmore
shows, but we had never seen him stand there for most of a show, looking so focused
the whole time. His comments later that day, introducing the Allmans at the private party
on 6/27/71, would reveal just how highly he valued this band of Southern musicians.
At some point the band cruised into a long and flowing version of “Dreams.” I’ll never
forget that other-worldly, twelve note descending sequence repeated over and over
again: “Dah-uh, dum, dum; dah-uh, dum, dum; dah-uh, dum, dum; dum, dum dum . . . ”
It seemed to go on for hours. I’ll never forget the image of Duane bent over his guitar
playing those magical scales and transporting me wherever concert goers go when
they’ve heard the best there is to hear.

I got to watch as Berry launched the band into a lengthy version of “Whipping Post,”
which segued into an even longer “Mountain Jam.” Everyone except Butch and Jaimoe
left the stage at the midpoint of Mountain Jam for the extended drum solo. Ever wonder
why the drummers, who seem to be using the most energy by far, have to work without a
break while everyone else heads out for a smoke?!

Some of my friends automatically switched off during drum solos, but Butch and
Jaimoe’s performance was special. When the whole band was playing, they drove the
music—they were the framework on which the tapestry was hung. When Butch and
Jaimoe played alone, I realized how they worked off each other, interweaving just as
intricately and perfectly as Berry, Dickey and Duane. I had never paid that much
attention to the drummers in a rock group before I discovered the Allmans. Drums were
just, well, drums. I was amazed by how Butch and Jaimoe could be so in synch and yet
never “stepped on each other’s lines.” I could actually hear the melody of “Mountain
Jam” as they played. During their solo, I was so transfixed by their playing that I didn’t
notice Berry walking silently back, standing on the right side as we faced the stage. The
cymbals and snares slowed to a steady pace, and suddenly there was Berry again.

Berry’s solo after the drum break in “Mountain Jam” always blew me away, and this was
no exception. I had never heard any bass player hitting so many chords before. This
wasn’t bass, it was power guitar! Berry’s playing on this solo, and his singing in “Hoochie
Coochie Man,” made me wish he had been given the spotlight a little more often.
After several minutes of intense playing, Berry slowed, stopped . . . and then took off on
a driving run like a thoroughbred. Duane called out “one, two, three, four!,” the lights
shone back on the entire stage, and the band was off into those incredible soaring, final
minutes of “Mountain Jam.”

Sometime around five in the morning, Duane stepped up to the microphone and
announced, “Well, we’ve played all our material . . . so we’re just gonna jam!”
And jam they did . . . I wish I could remember what they played, but I don’t. It seems that
they jammed on “My Favorite Things” but that may just be creative memory. I had never
been to any concert before or since where the headline band jammed for hours. The
light show finally stopped and that crazy mirror ball just ran on forever. Most fans know
the story of the seminal ABB jam in Jacksonville, FL, before Gregg even joined the band,
where they played for three hours without a word. Butch describes it in a radio interview
during a 1979 concert broadcast like this:

“Butch Trucks is here with me on Supergroups in Concert. Butch, talking about
jamming . . . the Allman Brothers has got to be one of the best if not the best jamming
band in the world today . . . .”
Butch: “That’s how we started . . . . I guess the day we put it together and we knew that
was it . . . one day early in 1969, I think . . . there was myself, and Jaimoe, Dickey,
Duane, Berry, and another dude on keyboards . . . we started playin, uh, Shuffle . . . ‘hit
that shuffle . . . ’ went from that to somethin’ else, to somethin’ else, to another change,
three hours later we quit, and I’d gone through all the changes, the chill bumps up my
back, and cryin’, and laughin’, and . . . it’s the first time I’d ever experienced that, you
know, playin’ . . . when we got finished I was dazed! I looked at Jaimoe and said ‘Man,
did you get off on that?’ and he got a grin from ear to ear and said ‘are you kidding?!’
And Duane walked to the door and said, ‘Anybody in this room not gonna play in my
band, you got to fight your way out!’ We all started laughing and that was it. And all we
needed was a singer so he called Gregg, and that did it. I mean it started with jammin’ . .
. that was our basis, and we can’t stop it. Spontaneity I’m talkin’ about . . . that’s what our
band’s based on. If we ever lose the spontaneity . . . we did it once before . . . that’s
when we had to split up. But we got it back, and as long as we got it, I’m gonna keep

What we heard that last night at the Fillmore East gave me some feeling for what the
Jacksonville jam must have been like. No vocals, just jam, jam, jam. Trading solos,
interweaving, building, soaring, driving . . . the very definition of hittin’ the note. Playing
on and on because it felt so good, because no one wanted that night to end, we all
wanted the Fillmore to stay open, and if the band just kept playing, then maybe, just
maybe . . . .

Even this incredible show finally had to come to an end. We had all gotten our second
wind sometime around 4 AM and were wide awake and grooving when it wound down
and ended between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. I asked Butch to recall anything he could from
that night, and one of his memories is how it came to a close:

“I remember that when we finished playing there was no applause and the audience, all
smiling broadly, just got up and quietly filed out. Also Duane walking off stage, dragging
his guitar, shaking his head saying ‘Goddamn, it’s like leaving church.’”

And file out we did . . . no pushing and shoving, no rush to leave. I looked back over my
shoulder as we neared the door; the open door that led us into broad daylight! I knew it
was late (early?), and wouldn’t have been surprised to see the sky growing light, but this
was way past dawn. We had entered the theater before midnight, in total darkness. The
echoes of what we had just witnessed rang through our heads as we scanned the
buildings lit by the morning sun. I remember very clearly the feeling of walking two feet
off the pavement. I never knew where that expression came from until that morning
outside the Fillmore East. We found our car, smiles still plastered broadly across our
faces, and drove quietly home.

That night, Sunday June 27, 1971, I invited some friends over for a post-graduation party
in my basement rec. room. WNEW-FM in NY was broadcasting the private party from
the Fillmore. There was a much bigger assortment of bands playing that night, but the
Allmans were chosen again to close it out for good. Butch recalls another memory for us
from June 27:

“Mostly, I remember the next night [June 27]. I hadn’t really met Bill Graham at that time.
He was, to me, a kind of mythological character that you simply didn’t want to cross. I
would hear him going off on some poor fool who didn’t do his job well enough or fast
enough from time to time, but I hadn’t really met him yet. When I arrived at the Fillmore
the night of the closing I was walking across the stage toward the dressing room and Bill
was on the other side. When he spotted me he ran across the stage, grabbed me
around the neck and began squeezing real hard. He said that the show the night before
was the greatest thing he had ever seen and made all the bullshit he had been going
through worthwhile. Then he said, ‘if I could have my way, I would have been sealed up
in a bubble and floated off to wherever I’m going when the show ended.’ Hell of a way to
finally meet.”

By the time the Allmans were introduced it was after midnight, and many of the invited
guests had gone home already. Tears of joy and pride welled in my eyes as I heard Bill
Graham give the introduction, now immortalized on the tape of that FM broadcast:

“Over the years that we’ve been doing this, the introductions are usually very short, and
this one’s going to be short, but a little longer than usual. The last two days, we have
had the privilege of working with this particular group, and over the past year or so,
we’ve had them on both coasts a number of times. In all that time, I’ve never heard the
kind of music that this group plays. And last night, we had the good fortune of having
them get on stage about 2:30, 3:00 o’clock, and they walked out of here at 7:00 in the
morning. And it’s not just that they played quantity, and for my amateur ears, in all my
life, I’ve never heard the kind of music that this group plays: the finest contemporary
music. We’re going to round it off with the best of them all, the Allman Brothers.”

I still get chills when I hear this introduction. My friends and I partied through the night
again with the Brothers, although this show was much abbreviated compared to the last
public show. They played inspired versions of their standard ’71 material, despite the
thinning crowd of invited guests. I still shake my head at Duane’s comment about “oh,
truth be, it’s awful quiet! what is it, early or what is it?!” Detroit still likes to think that even
though the auditorium was half empty, the Brothers knew that their real fans were out
there listening to the radio, and gave a hot performance just for them. I treasured this
tape made off the air, and always preferred listening to it over the Fillmore East album.
In college, a friend borrowed it and never returned it. I had given it up as lost forever
when years later, I found that tapes are still around if you look for them, and now I can
listen to that show once more.

But I’ve never found a tape of the show that went all night; the real last night at the
Fillmore East . . . as Kirk West said, pointing to my head, “it’s all up there!”

Rowland Archer


  1. Wow, what can I say. That album has always been my favorite and Duane Allman is in my opinion, one of the greatest.

  2. Live at A&R Studios is the best I’ve heard period Duane Allman said to his bandmates make it Goodfellas were only here for 1 hour.

    1. Koo8 me and my three buddies went to the Early Show we shot in 5th row left just where you said if us was one of the best shows my fact it was the best show I ever saw in my life by far nothing even compares

  3. Nice read. I came to the brothers after Duane & Barry died. Sort of fell away until Derek started playing with them and worked my way backwards. I was just 11 in 71 but I wish to God I’d have paid closer attention. I always wonder how it must have felt to be at one of those show. You just gave me a really good idea. Thank you.

  4. Mr. Archer, your essay is perfect.
    ThankYou. I and so many others are able to be at Fillmore with your words.
    The music of The Allman Brothers is my life movie soundtrack. Past, present, and eternity.
    ThankYou again for letting me hand out stickers at the Gregg Allman show at Memphis Botanic Garden in June. Excellent evenin.

  5. I was only almost 19 when I first heard them. Always loved the Detroit R&B sound & the funk of James Brown when just 14. So when these guys came out & played that Southern blues rock I was hooked. Dwayne & I share the same B.D. date so I know how much a determined man he must of been to get his sound down. I had B.D. tickets to see them in R.I. live but Dwayne was killed before. So sad. Followed Gregg throughout the yrs. try to keep it together & he did pretty good. He is a great musician now, but needs to slow down so we can have him as long as possible. Never stopped loving this band, I am from Maine & saw them everytime they came even 3 summers ago up on the mountain. They had a old hippie bus transport us up the mountain to the concert & on the way back everyone was singing in the bus there songs dressed in hippy cloths. Loved it. God Bless

  6. My name is Dan DeMers from the heart of the Hudson Valley, and a proud 3rd generation ironworker out of local 40 N.Y. city one of my fellow I.W buddies with his long blonde hair looks much like Gregg Allman. After u made me feel like i was at this concert i loved the article i shared it with him cause he’s a fanatical fan of the Brothers, so again i thankyou and am sure my friend and fellow worker Kevin Joyce will be happy i stumbled on it also.Hats off to a GREAT MEMORY!!!!

  7. Was at the 4/26/71 late show also. To add to your great story was the memory of a great performance of Revival that gave the crowd a great late nite wake up call. Thanks

  8. In ’69,while on summer vacation from school(I was 15),The Allman Brothers Band played on 2 consecutive weekends at the Melbourne Auditorium in Melbourne,Fl. I was a 3rd year guitar student and knew of Duane Allman being a BUSY session player,and I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to witness a master at work!A friend and I made plans to go the second show.We were in need of a ride,so my friend’s older sister(who had their first album)agreed to transport us to the show.We arrive just as the support act begins.They were a trio (guitar,drums,keyboard w/keyboard bass).Next thing we know,out comes Berry Oakley to sit in with them!He fattened up their thin sound nicely. Then it was time for the main course!Now,I had never known about “slide guitar” before,and when Duane started playing,I couldn’t believe what I was both seeing and hearing!My jaw almost made a dent in the floor!That room had great acoustics and the sound was so good that it was almost like the album itself was being played through the P.A.!!! It could not have been better. As it turned out,my friend’s sister brought her copy of the first album with her.After the show,we’re standing around when I look across the room and spot Gregg walking out from backstage.I grab the album and approach him and he graciously signs it. My friend had brought a camera,so we try to get backstage and actually make it! We can’t find Duane,but there’s Dickey Betts,sitting on a folding chair pickin’ on his SG. We get some shots of him including one of me playing his SG!!! This was definitely one of my better concert experiences!

  9. That June 26th late show is, to my way of thinking, the holy grail of rock-n-roll. Surely the tape(s) must be somewhere; right? If they somehow were misplaced and still reside any place in the material world, please, dear God, PLEASE, we implore you, we beseech you, we appeal to you and all you and we both hold dear, and I understand that isn’t always the same thing, but still … that you somehow maneuver events, circumstances, people who may not even know what it is that they know regarding this to search, act, inquire into its whereabouts in order that it can somehow be unearthed and restored to its proper place amongst we the people!

    The boys gave this most beloved of musical theaters’ a closing show worthy of its stature. It’s now well past time for this closing night’s performance to surface for one and all to hear. That it remains missing to this day, that it somehow slipped between our fingers and out of our musically craving hands leaves us all diminished — and yes, still grieving — for its return to its proper place: inspiring us all with its majesty, soul, and passion.

    Whoever you are and wherever you may be found, if you have any information relating to or even a clue regarding where these tapes may reside or even may have resided in the past, we request you in the name of humanity and all that is fine & good within it still, albeit we agree to disagree on exactly what that may or may not be, to help find, unearth, restore, and release this seminal musical event for all to hear and be inspired by. Remember: the musical soul you save may very well be your own!

    Thanks for sharing your memories of this most significant of musical evenings with us, Rowland. Like the show itself, I never wanted it to end.

    Bill Graham’s Fillmore East LIVES!!!

    Long live the Allman Brothers Band!!!

    Remember Duane Allman!!!

  10. That was one great read Thanks The Allman Brothers Band are my favorite band I adore The Live At The Fillmore East album I believe I have 4 or 5 versions. The Road Goes On Forever & 2nd Generation Allman Betts & Oakley are proving it ✌️❤️

  11. My friends and I attended the last public concert at the Fillmore East.. featuring Albert King, the J. Giles band and the Allman brothers band. we were in the 7th row center section. The show was amazing and it was daylight when we left for home. I remember the next night recording the entire show off the radio broadcast on WNEW. Funny, we considered going to see the Leon Russell show (I think a week earlier) but I insisted we go to see the Allman Brothers. We actually also saw them at the Wollman Rink but it was wonderful to see them with Duane at the Fillmore…

  12. I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up my phone to read this article, thinking it would make me rest. OMG, I felt as if I was there, at the closing of the Fillmore East, listening to the best band that will ever be. I was 16 years old when the Allman Brothers Band came to Spartanburg, SC and played at the Sitar. I didn’t get to go because I was in Florida that week, but I have heard how great their show was. I missed my chance to see Duane Allman play live. I am an artist, and I would just sit around & sketch Duane playing his guitar, I adored him that much. There will never be anyone like the original ABB because they made their music as a group, but the passing of Duane & Gregg made the music die for me. I did see this wonderful band play several times over the years, but I really enjoyed Gregg’s solo shows the best. In fact, I saw him in Charleston, SC at one of his last shows. The music that The Allman’s played will always be with me. The only thing missing from this article is the description of Duane playing “Will the Circle be Unbroken “ at the end of Mountain Jam. I cry when I hear the pure sound that comes from Duane Allman’s guitar, & his heart.

  13. Roland I have the whole show on reel to reel tape from that night–my favorite tape

  14. Somehow I feel it is right that there is no known, publicly available recording of 6/26/71.

    The Allman Brothers Band was all about the jam – the process of creating, truly creating, each and every night they played. It was about experimentation, pushing the limits both as individual musicians and a cohesive organism, sharing the process of creating original music with each other and the audience.

    Recording the music takes away from its ephemeral nature – each time it is played, the recording is the same – it is not original in the same way. In my eyes it is fitting that the best show they ever played, stayed right there where it was meant to be, right there where they were at home – onstage, jamming, creating, not in a studio, not playing it safe for the perfection of the recording but rather laying it all out on the table, taking risks to push to a new level. When they were recorded, they were held back – the unrecorded jam was freedom, beautiful and unadulterated.

  15. I believe that I have tapes from this show…..6/27/71…..And they also include Edgar Winter, Mountain, Country Joe, and the Beach Boys……In addition to J Geils Band, Albert King, and the Allman Brothers

    1. Those are from the Sunday night show that was broadcast on FM. It was a closed-to-the-public show for VIP’s. It was a great performance, but not the “Holy Grail” show from the last public night.

  16. I too was there that night. My girlfriend’s dad got us a full row of tickets for the show. It was a family event! I wasn’t too excited when she had mentioned that the Allman Brothers were closing being more interested in bands like The Faces & Savoy Brown which I had just seen at the Capital Theatre in Port Chester. I wasn’t going to say no however! As an aside, my buddy and I had purchased first row center for the Faces in April. Even shook Ron Wood’s hand. We used to call months in advance to see what the upcoming bands would be, send in a check and the tickets would arrive by mail. Unimaginable today! The Allman Brothers appeared well into the wee hours of the 27th after Albert King and an incredible set by the J. Geils Band. I recall J. Geils was wearing a pair of woman’s white pumps. Too weird, too cool! The Allmans came on and as was said, played and played and played. I had never experienced anything as driving and free form as that set and have never since. Magical. As it was winding down and the doors opened to a burst of light, some wise guy yelled “play all night!” We exited the side doors onto East 6th St. with our eyes adjusting to the morning sun. It was so memorable that with the 50th anniversary coming up and all that I’ve experienced since as a 67 year old senior citizen, little comes close to this historical musical event!

  17. Excellent writing of that 6/26 show. Grew up listening to them, my 1st 3 LPs I loved were Led Zep II, Concert for Bangladesh (sp?) and that ABB Live at the Fillmore. Finally got to see live them when they got back together in 79, caught the first show in the NY area at the Capital in Passaic NJ on 4/20/79 and then scored freebies on 4/24/79 in front of the Palladium in NYC because I was wearing a WLIR T shirt while I was trying to scalp tix after seeing then a few nights before. DJ from the station, Michael Ross was in the crowd in front and man am I glad I put that shirt on THAT day! Saw them countless times more thru the 80’s until those Beacon shows ended in 2009 or so??? Just the BEST live music you ever hear. SO glad I loved them back in 71… just a treasure trove of stuff to get me thru life ..always!

  18. Rowland, man you pull my heart right out of my chest. I love The Allman Brother Band. Tears in my eyes and my heart on my sleeve. I can close my eyes and be right where you stood, watching them play they sound. At 14 of age in 66′, I saw them play in a bar in Nashville. As I think then, they were the Allman Joys, or the Hour Glass. Who knows? And again in 70′ at MTSU, TN. Could not believe my eyes and ears. I tried to take in everything. They movement with each other, everything. And they took me to heaven and back. I was raise in that Guitar Town and have met and seen and been around a lot of music and musicians. I love all kinds of music, and have meet some of the best players in Jazz, Country, Blues, and Rock and Roll. Set-up a lot of shows. The Brothers were the Best. Hearing the guitar of Duane’s slide gives me chicken skin like no one else. Greg’s singing for a white boy is one of the best Blues sound there is. And that B-3, organ, WOW. Dickie’s playing blended well with Duane’s slide work. His songwriting was damn good too. Berry, Jaimoe and Butch fed the bottom for support. What a Band. The Allman Brothers Band. Thank you, Rowland. a good piece of work. Thanks again.

  19. What a MAGICAL nightI was in the forth row balcony and experienced the best concert of my long and blessed life. The band were alchemists that night, transporting us through the cosmos with their music. Thank you ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND!……… and thanks for your great story…

  20. I got ‘At Fillmore East’ for my 17th birthday in 1971, 51 years ago today. When I feel blue and discouraged about how things have gone in this country I just put that album on and I get carried back to a simpler, better time when we could make things happen rather than be victims of what happens to us. Should I get to heaven it will be the Allman Brothers Band Live at the Fillmore for eternity, playing with and for all their friends.

  21. Great easy great read!! It briefly brought me back to that time. I was 16 at the time and was at a friends graduation party and left the party to listen to the show on WNEW in my car. I went home before the Brothers took the stage and taped the show. I listened to it for years. Someone stole my tape about 10 years ago but I was glad to see the broadcasted show was available on several sources. I saw them later that summer in Huntington NY at the Century theater and in the fall at SUNY Stony Brook. They had started playing Blue Sky at these shows and thought I would never hear that soing again after Duane died. I was so thankful to hear it on Eat A Peach. The next time I heard it live as at Watkins Glen. I miss the Brothers and will be listening to the June 27, 1971!

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