The first thing to say about this mix is that none of these performances appear on “The Complete Matrix Tapes” (November 26-27, 1969).
This compilation is intended to be the second place to go for 1968-1969 live Velvet Underground, in the period when both Mo Tucker and Doug Yule were in the band. It contains a version of every composition that made it onto an audience tape, with one exception, and only three compositions are repeated: 39 tracks, 36 different songs.
Practically speaking, this compilation replaces “1969 Live,” the glorious, old, murky double-LP, which was whittled down to four unique tracks, when the release of “The Complete Matrix Tapes” provided upgrades of all the other performances. Likewise, it upgraded nearly a third of the performances on “The Quine Tapes.”
So, the live VU universe lies in splinters around the amazing soundboard monolith of “The Complete Matrix Tapes.”
I’ve tried to fix that with these 3.5 hours of lovingly selected audience tape performances. The "Live 1969" leftovers are here in the context of their original show, some tracks are pulled from the Quine tapes, and all the rest are unreleased.
Many of these selections are the only live recording of a song (at all), the only audience recording of it, or the only version in which the vocals are clear (enough) and the distortion low enough to deliver for real. That’s a sad truth about the poor quality of the few tapes that exist, but it’s also miraculous that so many songs actually exist in versions that you want to hear repeatedly. We got lucky in our unluckiness, I guess.
I had good, known- or seemingly-uncompressed sources for most of this material, though some come from mp3s. I have applied no compression filters, and very, very little frequency-EQing. (i.e., No attempt has been make to make these diverse recordings "sound like" each other.) However, those who are familiar with VU recordings of this sort will find that I have significantly fixed the problem of wild volume variations between and within songs. It's nowhere near perfect, but it's not all over the place.
A Complete Show: October 19, 1969 Dallas – 83 minutes
The leftover songs from “1969 Live” (*) came from this show, including the album's opening address to the audience and first song. It’s a great performance, and it is absolutely the best audience recording of the band in this period. It's the one, complete (non-Matrix) show that everyone should have. (If you already possess it in full, you might still appreciate some of the refinements I’ve made.)
- Good Evening *
- Waiting for the Man *
- It’s Just Too Much
- Band Intro *
- Some Kinda Love
- I’ll be Your Mirror *
- Femme Fatale *
- Beginning to See the Light
- I’m Set Free
- After Hours
- I’m Sticking with You
- One of These Days
- Pale Blue Eyes *
- What Goes On
- Sister Ray
A Quiet Set (composite) – 56 minutes
Low-key VU – concentrated. More from the October Dallas stand, Lou Reed singing “Candy Says,” Doug and Mo singing “Rock and Roll,” “Lisa Says" with four improvised verses, a fast live version of “I Found a Reason,” and – yes, truly – a “Sister Ray” that belongs in something called “a quiet set.” This is the only non-Matrix 1969 “Sweet Jane” (another fun variation) and the only live recording of “Ride into the Sun.” The “Ride into the Sun” demo is one of four tracks that were presumably an acetate at some point, two of the others having been officially released on archival sets (“Countess from Hong Kong,” and “I Found a Reason”).
Caveat: I did my best to moderate the defects on “Jesus” and “That’s the Story of My Life,” which seem to be on all my VU fan friends’ versions as well.
- Candy Says (12-12-68 Boston)
- Jesus (10-18-69 Dallas)
- That’s the Story of My Life (10-18-69 Dallas)
- I Found a Reason (10-18-69 Dallas)
- Sunday Morning (10-18-69 Dallas)
- Ride into the Sun (unreleased demo)
- Sweet Jane (11-69 San Francisco – Quine outtake)
- Rock & Roll (10-69 Dallas – “after hours jam”)
- Lisa Says (10-69 Dallas – “after hours jam”)
- Over You (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- Sister Ray (10-18-69 Dallas)
- Ride into the Sun (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
This set leads with the other unreleased 1969 demo/acetate recording, then works its way through all the rockers not represented by the October 19th Dallas show. Sound quality gets a little rough as it proceeds, but in terms of a balance between exhilarating crunch and listenable songs, these are the ones. "Ferryboat Bill" is unlistenable, with only the delighted crowd response at the end to tell you how great it must have really been.
- Real Good Time Together (unreleased demo)
- It’s Just too Much (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- Sweet Bonnie Brown (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- I Can’t Stand It (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- Move Right In (1-10-69 Boston)
- Foggy Notion (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- Run Run Run (8-2-69, Ringe, NH)
- Follow the Leader (11-69 San Francisco – Quine Tapes)
- White Light White Heat (12-12-68 Boston, MA)
- Ferryboat Bill (3-13-69 Boston)