MUSIC: The Fillmore opens!

After months of anticipation, The Fillmore of Silver Spring opened its doors to the public on the evening of Thursday September 15th, 2011.

By Brandon Green

On Thursday Sept. 15 the new Fillmore music hall in Silver Springs opened to a sold out crowd. With Mary J. Blige headlining the night fans waited outside the Fillmore anticipating the experience, wanting to get a first glimpse at the newly constructed concert hall in action.

The Fillmore has been a most anticipated venue ever since Live Nation signed a 20 year 3.6 million lease for the former J.C. Penney establishment in 2008. With the construction cost on the backs of Montgomery County and the State of Maryland at 4 million each, there has already been some controversy with community leaders who think the building is costing too much public money.

“I think it is a wonderful place for concerts, I just don’t understand why my taxes couldn’t be put to better use in the county and state,” said Silver Spring resident Adam Jones.

This state of the art facility houses a main floor that features an A-list band stage. On the ceiling are hanging chandeliers that are a staple for Fillmore Concert Halls. There are two bars that line the main floor that is perfect for dancing and standing room. The second floor has rows of tiered seating, VIP sitting areas, reserved seating for general admission fans, and a bar lining the back wall.

After the doors opened and the fans and guest got settled into the Fillmore the concert got kicked off in exciting fashion as Montgomery County officials and executives from Live Nation christened the long-anticipated music hall with a guitar smashing ceremony. Soon Mary J. Blige would enter the stage around 9 p.m. to 2,000 screaming fans.

Mary J. Blidge rocked the stage performing her entire album My Life, Blige’s second studio album and breakthrough smash. Along with the iconic “My Life” album Blige also performed a track off of her new album 25/8 slated to be out in October.

“The concert was amazing,” said Sarah Martinez who attended the concert. “Mary J. kept up the energy the entire night and the crowed and atmosphere was something. It was worth every penny. “

The Fillmore Silver Spring parcel to other Live Nation music venues known for their concert halls, most notable the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. In the 1960s the Fillmore Auditorium in San Fransico became a notable spot for retro psychedelic music and counterculture.   Notable acts in their hay-day included The Grateful DeadJefferson AirplaneQuicksilver Messenger ServiceThe DoorsJimi Hendrix ExperienceBig Brother and the Holding CompanyCarlos Santana.

Although people who attended the concert where pleased and showed interest in returning for another event in the near future, the community neighbors around the concert venue showed concern based on traffic patterns that blocked  and congested city roads the day of the concert. Increased noise and crime are other concerns voiced by the community.

“I understand that the concert hall will bring in a lot of people from around the D.C. Metropolitan and Baltimore areas. I just wonder how that will affect the surrounding communities, being traffic or crime,” said Anthony Jackson a concerned community member.