As if following some playbook on how to irritate Minneapolitans, The Fillmore announced its opening by taking an unnecessary swipe at First Avenue. “It’s not just a black box with people in it,” Ron Bension, Live Nation’s president of clubs and theaters, reportedly said at a press preview of its under-construction venue in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. A few blocks away, First Avenue delivered the perfect clap back: a black and white image of Prince on stage along with a gallery of icons that have graced its stage including the Ramones, Lizzo, Joe Cocker, the Replacements, and more. “*Just* your independently owned ‘black box with people in it’ since 1970,” the caption reads.
In other introduction bumbling, the preview failed to include some food media to report on its planned restaurant, Trax Burgers & Bar by Westin hotel. Stephanie March, senior food editor at Mpls./St. Paul Magazine wrote, “And since no one invited me to the party, and no one there seemed to care about asking burger questions, that’s all I can tell you about that. Bygones.” According to its website, the restaurant will be the spot for “Great Happy Hours,” and “innovative cocktails.” Of the few menu clues includes the baffling, “Free Range Burrata Chicken Meatball Toast,” which begs the question where are these cheeses roaming and who gave them a toaster?
The name of the new venue is borrowed from San Fransisco’s seminal theater that was run by promoter Bill Graham and credited for helping give rise to such bands as Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane. None of which have anything to do with Minneapolis.
What is central to Minneapolis’ identity is the all black former Greyhound bus station that sports stars painted along its exterior walls containing the name of almost every important musical act of all time that have played the iconic venue located in the heart of downtown.
Slated to open in February of 2020, The Fillmore Minneapolis’ website declares, “Live music will never be the same again in Minneapolis.”