Wolfgangs Vault

July 13, 2006

First, some background: Beginning in the late ’60s, rock impresario Bill Graham recorded thousands of performances by these and hundreds of other artists, and stored the tapes in the basement of the Bill Graham Presents headquarters, where they sat undisturbed until acquired by Wolfgang’s Vault in 2003. Now, selections from the vault are in rotation via an FM-quality digital-audio stream at wolfgangsvault.com, and you can enjoy these tracks absolutely free.

What’s the catch? Vault Radio hopes that by offering free access to performances by the above artists and others—such as Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Traffic, John Mayall, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, and the Allman Brothers—that visitors will be tempted to purchase merchandise from the company’s online store. Happily, browsing the merch is nearly as entertaining and educational as listening to the music. The majority of the items are concert-related graphics such as posters, handbills, and postcards that list the billings from shows from as far back as 1968, when they were considerably more eclectic than would be the case just a few years later. For example, you could have caught Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, and Richie Havens at the Fillmore West on November 2, 1967; or Steppenwolf, the Buddy Rich Orchestra, and the Move at the Fillmore East on October 4, 1968; or It’s a Beautiful Day, Ike and Tina Turner, and Alice Cooper at the Fillmore West on October 30, 1969. And who can forget Led Zeppelin opening for Country Joe and the Fish at the Fillmore West on January 9-11, 1969?

Along with the posters and other concert memorabilia, there are photographs searchable by photographer, psychedelic “blacklight” posters, T-shirts (both “Vintage” from the time of the show and “Retro” reproductions), vintage concert tickets, and every variety of swag, such as mugs, pins, stickers, ties, and even water bottles. Prices for all this stuff range from fairly reasonable to “for well-heeled hippies only,” but the history lessons and the extraordinary music streaming will cost you nothing. Far out, man! gFirst, some background: Beginning in the late ’60s, rock impresario Bill Graham recorded thousands of performances by these and hundreds of other artists, and stored the tapes in the basement of the Bill Graham Presents headquarters, where they sat undisturbed until acquired by Wolfgang’s Vault in 2003. Now, selections from the vault are in rotation via an FM-quality digital-audio stream at wolfgangsvault.com, and you can enjoy these tracks absolutely free.

What’s the catch? Vault Radio hopes that by offering free access to performances by the above artists and others—such as Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Traffic, John Mayall, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, and the Allman Brothers—that visitors will be tempted to purchase merchandise from the company’s online store. Happily, browsing the merch is nearly as entertaining and educational as listening to the music. The majority of the items are concert-related graphics such as posters, handbills, and postcards that list the billings from shows from as far back as 1968, when they were considerably more eclectic than would be the case just a few years later. For example, you could have caught Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, and Richie Havens at the Fillmore West on November 2, 1967; or Steppenwolf, the Buddy Rich Orchestra, and the Move at the Fillmore East on October 4, 1968; or It’s a Beautiful Day, Ike and Tina Turner, and Alice Cooper at the Fillmore West on October 30, 1969. And who can forget Led Zeppelin opening for Country Joe and the Fish at the Fillmore West on January 9-11, 1969?

Along with the posters and other concert memorabilia, there are photographs searchable by photographer, psychedelic “blacklight” posters, T-shirts (both “Vintage” from the time of the show and “Retro” reproductions), vintage concert tickets, and every variety of swag, such as mugs, pins, stickers, ties, and even water bottles. Prices for all this stuff range from fairly reasonable to “for well-heeled hippies only,” but the history lessons and the extraordinary music streaming will cost you nothing. Far out, man!

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