Two rock and roll brands are merging: The Fillmore and Irving Plaza. Next to CBGB’s, these two rock venues hold some seriously strong rock memories for me and I’m sure many others. My first concert at the Fillmore East included the Pointer Sisters singing with the Elvin Bishop Group, The Allman Brothers Band (Yes, that show.), and Johnny Winter And with Rick Derringer. Irving Plaza was also a favorite haunt during the punk rock and new wave years. Where else could you watch a show with bigger rockers in the audience than on the stage?
By bringing back the Fillmore name the owner of the brand, Live Nation, is walking on some exciting ice. It’s a powerful rock brand but needs to be managed properly. It’s not Hardees. You can’t open one in every town. There is only so much “good” rock to go around. And if you start showing too much pop, you’ll dilute the brand’s power.
Preserving the Irving Plaze name (the NY venue will be called “Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza”) is a good idea. New generations of rockers have spilled lots of brew on the floorboards of Irving Plaza, without ever having stepped foot in a Billy Graham venue. Can’t wait to see how it all works out.