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The good (studio recordings) and bad (live recordings) about the 45th Anniversary Edition
on 3 November 2015
This is about the 5CD/1DVD-A - 45th Anniversary Edition.
The "live at Max's Kansas City" is still its underwhelming self, a poorly sounding bootleg, maybe a bit polished by the remastering. But it's an audiophile's dream compared to the "Second Fret" live disc. Consider that the bass and the vocals here are virtually inaudible: what you hear is the sound of two (badly recorded) guitars - no drummer on this set - strumming what might be the chords to Velvet Underground songs. Occasionally, you get the impression that someone is actually singing… far, far away in the background. Listening to the "Second Fret" disc made me realize that labels won't stop at nothing. If they have released this, they will go on releasing anything, no matter how wretched and pointless and useless.
On the other hand, the original album is beautifully remastered, and the “promotional mono” version is really engaging, possibly even better and punchier than the stereo one, a truly welcome addition.
The demos&extra tracks is equally great: these are actual studio recordings, excellent and brilliantly recorded, but most of them have already been released so if you own the 1997 “Fully Loaded” 2-CD edition you already have most of these.
There’s also an audio-only DVD with 5.1 mixes, which may be of great interest to many - not to me so I won’t comment on this.
The book is extremely well done and interesting, as customary for these VU super deluxe edition.