From Carousel to Resurrection

"I was there..."

by Christa Mae

Fillmore West at Van Ness and Market 1970 via Isabella Acuña FB.jpg

The famous Fillmore West at Van Ness and Market in 1970 when the Grateful Dead show was being advertised.

Photo: Isabelle Acuña

When Bill Graham closed the old Fillmore West that was in the even older Carousel Ballroom it soon reopened as the Resurrection. The “gentlemen” (trust me, not necessarily the case) that owned the very profitable North Beach Leather Co. put it together.

I managed the concession. I made $12 for working 8 hours but I didn’t care. I would have paid them for all the great talent I saw. We had all the groups that came through town. On any night there could be a jam with the Doobie Bros, Buddy Miles, Santana, with other visiting musicians sitting in. Albert King played for us (who recognized me because when I was 17 years old and still living in St Louis, I would sneak out and go with a friend to East St Louis or anywhere he was playing. I’ve always been a blues girl.)

I saw so much music it all runs into one long night.


Jefferson Airplane show at Fillmore West, October 1968.

Image: courtesy Tim Drescher

But my favorite show was the night someone called and said that the Airplane had a new band and could they come and do a show. Two caveats, we tell no one and we don’t charge at the door. As people started showing up and realized what was happening they ran to our bank of pay phones (remember those?) and called everyone they knew. In less than an hour the place was packed. Jefferson Starship w/ Papa John Creech. One of the greatest shows ever. (I was a huge Airplane fan). We sold out the concession early and the other 3 girls at the concession and I sat on the counter (I must say the best seats in the house) and enjoyed the show.

Carousel Ballroom.jpg

Carousel Ballroom before its renaming at Fillmore West.

Photo: provenance unknown, via Facebook

Aretha Franklin at Carousel Ballroom.jpg

Aretha Franklin performing at the Carousel Ballroom, early 1960s.

Photo: provenance unknown, via Facebook