The Velvet Underground: Lou Reed (guitar, vocals); Sterling Morrison (guitar); Doug Yule (bass, vocals); Maureen Tucker (drums).
Recorded live in Texas and San Francisco in 1969. Includes liner notes by Paul Nelson and Elliott Murphy.
This 2 LP set was split into 2 separate CDs.
Liner Note Authors: Elliott Murphy; Paul Nelson.
Recording information: San Francisco, CA; Texas.
Illustrator: Ernst Thormahlen.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Doug Yule; Lou Reed; Maureen Tucker; Sterling Morrison.
Though 1970 brough LOADED and (relative) commercial success for the Velvets, it also saw the beginning of their decline. Apparent commercial concessions and interpersonal tensions had already begun to tear the band apart at the seams. Their real peak came the year before, when--finding themselves halfway between artiness and pop pursuits--they dived headlong into amphetamine-fueled, minimalist-influenced proto-punk. The European influence had lessened with the departure of John Cale, allowing the VU to become a pure rock & roll band of unprecedented fervor.
The second volume of this seminal live set delves a bit more into the often-forgotten gentle ballad side of the VU's work. On the elliptical, strangely romantic "Pale Blue Eyes" the stirring, almost-anthemic "Ocean" and the poignant "I'll Be Your Mirror" (the sweetest song Reed ever wrote), the band plays it low-key but unsentimental, with just enough tenderness to bring out the songs' emotions. The near-psychotic swirl of "Heroin" and the unrelenting rock & roll sledgehammer of "I Can't Stand It" remind listeners of the band's brawn.