The Last Days

DVD - 2009
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When legendary rock impresario Bill Graham closed the Fillmore West in the summer of 1971, he made sure it went out with a bang. Over five nights, acts including the Grateful Dead and Santana took to the stage for one final send off. The madness leading up to the shows and the gritty backstage footage are chronicled in this classic rock film.


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i have to defer to the comment writer, two below, when he states that the sounds of santana were so omnipresent, back then; i was too young to be around, as far as jedgar hoover and his minions, being askared of santana, or his followers, i say n-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a, to that. the only rocker ever taken seriously as an enemy, that i am aware of, was john lennon, -ex of the beatles, and a resident alien of nyc, as of 1970. he made nixon's enemies list. can anyone these days believe that an american president had an enemies' list? as far as the quest for santana to headline bill graham's fillmore-west closing show, that sounds like bad parody, to me, of me. santana was big, in the bay area, but never was that big. carlos was tripping his b rains for the woodstock performance, so was the rest of the band. they weren't sure they could play, as a matter of fact. somehow, though, their performance came together for them. watching that clip knowing that fact makes for an illuminating view of it. at least later, graham was santana's manager. let's get our rock history straight, shall we? we owe it to the art form. p.s. i knew michael carabello much later, in san francisco. he had survived the drug scene, as so many had not, and was pretty much a derelict while waiting to get some of the money he was owed as a result of being the original drummer for the band. when he got it, he decamped and bought a house in concord, where he lived with many friends (his new band?). walnut creek, on the iron trail, was where i lost touch with him. he was an alright guy. two rock-people spring to my mind when the subject of having lost one's life due to a helicopter crash crosses it: bill graham, stevie ray vaughan. not to forget someone who was close to the band THE TUBES: Jane Dornacker. She wrote their song, DON'T TOUCH ME THERE, before moving to NYC, and she died while working as a radio -traffic -reporter, there, in a helicopter crash into the Hudson River.

Nov 03, 2018

VERY GOOD 1971 documentary combining terrific live rock performances by several San Francisco bands with a look into the life - and personality - of promoter Bill Graham, a German-American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death in 1991 in a helicopter crash. On July 4, 1939 he was sent from Germany to France to escape the Nazis. At age 10 he settled in a foster home in the Bronx, New York. Graham graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and from City College with a business degree.

I particularly enjoyed seeing Lydia Pense singing with Cold Blood, It's a Beautiful Day, Santana, and several others, and it was the first time I heard Lamb featuring singer Barbara Mauritz.

The live film was well shot with multiple views and is interspersed with historic San Francisco plus events.

The organizing principal of FILLMORE: THE LAST DAYS is Bill Graham's efforts to piece together a bill for the final show at Fillmore West. The "Great White Whale" the megalomaniac promoter hunts throughout the film is Santana; he wants them to close out the final show. And in this MOBY DICK Ahab gets his whale. FILLMORE: THE LAST DAYS is an amazing document because it records how spent the Hippies are as early as the early summer of 1971. Santana, based on the strength of the band's first three albums --SANTANA (1969), the super-historic ABRAXAS (1970) and a Billboard 200 #1 album SANTANA III (1971) -- as well as the orgiastic performance captured in the WOODSTOCK (1970) film, is at the top of the Hippie heap in Nixon's pre-Watergate America. Growing up in California in the 1970s, the sound of Santana was ambient. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" and "Oye Como Va" floated in the air, ever-present. Wherever one went there it was. Whether you were at a public park or driving down the main thoroughfare the sound of Santana was the sound of life then. "La Raza." It must have scared the shit of the Hoover types in Washington D.C. But FILLMORE: THE LAST DAYS is the end of the line for the band's original lineup.


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