The Concerts: Mammoth Gardens

The Dan Fong collection at the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries’ Archives also includes photographs taken by Fong at some of Colorado’s lost music venues, including Denver’s own Mammoth Gardens - now the Fillmore Auditorium on Colfax Avenue.

Richie Havens, 1970, Mammouth Gardens, Denver CO

Richie Havens at Mammouth Gardens, Denver, Colorado in 1970

Fong captured legendary singer-songwriter Richie Havens (1941-2020) perfoming in 1970 at Mammoth Gardens.  The previous year, Havens had been the opening act at Woodstock, where his performance of "Freedom” launched him to stardom.  Mammoth Gardens, where Fong took this image, was converted from an ice rink to a nightclub in 1968 by concert promoter Stuart Green, and the venue worked closely with Barry Fey's Feyline Productions to bring national acts like Havens to Denver audiences.

The Who at Mammoth Gardens

The Who at Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado in 1970.

The Who first played in Colorado on June 9, 1970 at the Mammoth Gardens - and Dan Fong was there to photograph it.  Setlists for the evening's show reveal that the band performed the entirety of their smash-success 1969 rock opera album, Tommy, in track order, including hit "Pinball Wizard."   Dan Fong's personal archives contain numerous photos of band members Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon, pictured here with his unique drum kit, featuring two bass drums and a gong.

Joe Cocker and Leon Russell, Denver, CO, 1970

Joe Cocker and Leon Russell at Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado in 1970.

Dan Fong also photographed Joe Cocker when the British blues-rock singer visited Denver on his infamous Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, shortly after the release of his break-through cover of the Beatles’ "With a Little Help From My Friends".  This photo captured Cocker, left, on stage at Mammoth Gardens on April 28, 1970, with tour bandleader Leon Russell (1942-2016), right, wearing his trademark top hat.