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1969: Velvet Underground Live: Volume 2 Live

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 May 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Mercury Records
  • ASIN: B000001FOE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,256 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Maureen Tucker once said that one of her greatest regrets about her tenure in the Velvet Underground is that the band didn't record their shows, and while the live tapes that do survive of the group's performances document an extraordinary band, sadly there aren't very many of them. 1969: Velvet Underground Live, a two-record set released in 1974, is the best and most compelling (legally released) document of the band's powers in concert, but given its length (over 104 minutes), when Mercury Records reissued the set on CD in 1988, they opted to send it out as two separate single-disc albums, rather than as a two-disc set. The three long songs that open 1969: Velvet Underground Live, Vol. 2 (they were the whole of side three on the vinyl release) capture the Velvets at their most hypnotically beautiful, easing from the slow but dramatic ebb and flow of "Ocean," through the lovely melancholy of "Pale Blue Eyes," into the slow, unbearable build to manic frenzy of "Heroin." The disc's second half finds the band in more conventional but no less satisfying form, shifting back and forth between mid-tempo numbers like "Over You" and "Some Kinda Love" and charging rockers such as "White Light/White Heat" (a fine version of "I Can't Stand It" has been added for the CD issue). While Lou Reed's passionate vocals and guitar work are front and center throughout, the rest of the band is in equally superb form, especially Sterling Morrison, still the finest foil Reed ever had on guitar, and Maureen Tucker, whose subtle, highly musical drumming is at once minimal and superbly intelligent. If you care at all about the Velvet Underground, both volumes of 1969: Velvet Undergound Live belong in your collection, but Vol. 2 is the one to get if you want to know how much more this band could do than create bracing noise.

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It's the rarest of live albums whose songs add anything to the majesty of the original studio recordings. This one adds immeasurable data to the Velvet's story. Without 1969: Live we might never have known that they were more than just an art outfit, that they could actually rock with fury. Check out Reed's strumming on "What Goes On" if you want to have your mind blown. None of these staples of the V.U. catalogue can be truly known without hearing these fully formed, fleshed-out versions, so for history's sake alone we must treasure this. History's tragedy of course is that we get to hear the excruciatingly light applause--it sounds like there's only 10 people in the room at some points--after each course in ass kicking. They were wrongly under-appreciated in their time, and for this we must all pay forever by playing this record constantly. --Gene Booth

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have this and its partner on vinyl. I have them both now on CD. So I guess I like them. I never saw them before the re-union so this is close as I can get to those days. It does have background noise but that is part of the charm. Put it on, turn the lights down, go fix a drink and you can almost see Lou and the guys on the stage and its the people on the next table you hear chatting. If you're after clean then this isn't for you. But then you wouldn't like the Velvets.
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By freewheeling frankie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 July 2007
Format: Audio CD
This second half of 1969 Live isn't quite the tour de force that Volume 1 is - it's slightly patchy by comparison. But its high points are still very high indeed.

Both CDs contain material recorded over a series of concerts in San Francisco in late November/early December 1969 (the majority) with a few tracks from a concert in Dallas a few weeks earlier. But the sound quality from the two sources is so similar that it sounds as if it could all have come from one night.

Ocean first appeared on Lou Reed's debut solo album; the Velvets had recorded several studio versions but the slow, stately 10 minute version here is definitive and thoroughly epic. Pale Blue Eyes actually improves on the superb version on their 3rd album. The version of Heroin here I'm not crazy about but isn't bad by any means. Some Kinda Love grafts a spoken intro from Dallas onto a performance from San Francisco but is a fine version. Over You is a cute little love song (something Lou Reed was surprisingly good at!) that's never appeared anywhere else. The medley of Sweet Bonnie Brown and It's Just Too Much likewise had never appeared anywhere else (though another version of It's Just Too Much, from the Dallas gig, has surfaced subsequently on the box set) and sounds like a couple of stoopid throwaway songs Reed made up as he went along; they're one of the most effortless, guileless and unforced slices of enjoyable rock'n'roll I know of - sheer innocent fun. White Light/White Heat is, for me, the nadir of this album - it goes on three times as long as it needs to and features some pretty uninspired guitar mangling. I Can't Stand It is a bonus track which didn't appear on the original double LP; there are better live versions on bootleg but it's pretty good.
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Format: Audio CD
Not as good as Volume 1, but that isn't saying much. If you only buy one of the pair then it should probably be the other one - but once you've bought that you will certainly want to own both! This recording seems to be from a different gig to it's partner, and whilst it's still very good, it doesn't quite carry the same atmosphere or depth as vol 1. But then very few albums do. It is still well-worth hearing this for extended stage versions of Velvet classics.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'd ignored this, and vol 1, for decades because of the artwork. I picked up the Rough Guide to the VU and the writer recommended them above Live At Max's, which I love, so I bit the bullet. Only minor niggle is that the audience can't be heard very well. Otherwise no quibbles - great versions of their songs.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Paul Morley -- later of Art of Noise -- reviewed this for NME many years ago he more or less declared that it was the greatest rock album ever released. With the exception of Sister Ray what you have on volumes 1 and 2 together are the best versions of the Velvets' best songs, without any arty-farty messing about, and with splendid singing from Lou Reed and magnificent guitar playing from Stirling Morrison: listen to his solo on White Light, White Heat and witness a rival to Neil Young and Tom Verlaine. Finally, the sound is marvellously appropriate to the music: what it lacks in clinical polish it more than makes up for in ambience. Forget the other Velvets albums and grow old with this one.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
No way- more like desert-supurb...has a differant flavour to vol I but periodically smacks you right between the eyes...which vol one does from the outset
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