On This Day (November 21)…King Crimson goes to Fillmore East

King Crimson performed on this day in 1969 at Fillmore East in New York City, New York.

Poster for the show. Retrieved from here.

The Show

They seem to have performed two shows, according to the tour diary kept by member Ian McDonald. They shared a bill with Joe Cocker & the Grease Band, Fleetwood Mac, and, at the later show, the Voices of East Harlem.

These concerts took place near the end of a punishing year of nearly-constant touring and recording for King Crimson, who had only formed at the beginning of the year. The original lineup, composed of Robert Fripp on guitar, Mike Giles on drums, Ian McDonald on woodwinds and mellotron, and Greg Lake on bass and vocals with Peter Sinfield in a technical support role for the tour, would disband less than a month after these concerts.

Ian McDonald noted that the group played quite well and that they were received “O.K.”. He noted elsewhere that they had been in extensive rehearsal of “Pictures of a City” both that day and the day before.

Fragment of Ian McDonald’s tour notes. Retrieved from here.

One of the shows was recorded and is available in the King Crimson shop here, along with material from the next day. This show also is available on its own from DGM Live here.

Fillmore East

The venue at which the concert took place, Fillmore East, was part of concert promoter Bill Graham’s concert franchise which also included Fillmore West (where King Crimson’s first lineup would play their final shows). It was located at 105 Second avenue and housed in a former Yiddish theater. Its capacity was about 2,600 according to some sources, though Wikipedia states it could seat 2,700. The Fillmore East only operated about three years, but nonetheless hosted many significant performances in its time, including performances by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, the Allman Brothers, and others, some of which are described here. After closing in 1971, it was used briefly as a gay disco in the late 70s before closing again permanently. There is now a bank housed in the former lobby.

Former location of Fillmore East, where a bank is now housed. Retrieved from here.

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Venue Sources

2020-01-15: information added to venue section.

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