VU's The Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes: stick your head inside Lou’s amp
August 25, 2014 9:27 AM   Subscribe

On March 15, 1969, The Velvet Underground played its last show of a three-day engagement at The Boston Tea Party in Boston, Massachusetts. The entire set was recorded by a fan directly from Lou Reed's guitar amplifier. "Reed’s guitar is, of course, way up front and the rest of the band is barely audible. The result is a mighty electronic roar that reveals the depth and layers of Reed’s playing. Over and undertones, feedback, string buzz, the scratch of fingers on frets and the crackle and hum of tube amps combine to create a monolithic blast of metal machine music." - Head Heritage.

Previously available on a bootleg CD, The Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes has finally made it to vinyl, courtesy of Tummy Tapes. Check out one of the most unique VU boots in existence.

Classic setlist from around the time of their 3rd LP:

I Can't Stand It
Candy Says
I'm Waiting For The Man
Ferryboat Bill
I'm Set Free
What Goes On
White Light White Heat
Beginning To See The Light
Heroin / Sister Ray
Move Right In
Run Run Run
Foggy Notion

Reaction from The Velvet Forum.

Volcanic Tongue: "The results are devastating and make for the final proof that Lou Reed single-handedly invented underground music. The rest of the band are effectively eclipsed by Reed’s incredible post-ostrich/post-Ayler feedback worshipping ascensions and alla that boo-ha about whether Reed really was influenced by free jazz can be put to rest here as he pulls the kind of wailing hallucinatory shapes from the guitar that it would take the goddamn Blue Humans to decode a couple of decades later.

The version of “Foggy Notion” (which is actually drawn from an equally insane recordings made at the Boston Tea Party in ’68) becomes a dense matrix of wounded notes and overloaded raga electric as Reed takes almost Rallizes/Sharrock scale electric iconoclasm into new realms of post-Diddley hunch, an approach that he extends into a blistering endless jam assault on the most barbarous take of “I Can’t Stand It” ever beamed into the brains of live teenagers. Even a previously quiet hymnal like “Jesus” comes over like a heavy metal Loren Connors here, with Reed welding feedback and fuzz onto every tactile note.

On the flip its two monsters, “Beginning To See The Light” and “Run Run Run” (from another Boston Tea Party show in July of 1969) which features Reed’s ‘mind splitting’ white light style extended to lengths of hypnotic, narcotic violence. Pretty much the greatest guitar side from the greatest rock guitarist of all time. This is the kinda monolith that casts a shadow over your entire record collection and makes you realise that by 1969 The Velvet Underground had pretty much laid down the blueprint for every rock possibility that would manifest in the next goddamn how many decades."
posted by porn in the woods (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

The vinyl is just yet another bootlegging of the same bootleg. Google Professor Tapes+FLAC for the best available sources of all those shows. Turns out they all came from the same guy!
posted by anazgnos at 9:38 AM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is that review a parody?
posted by thelonius at 9:43 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

the greatest rock guitarist of all time

Well, it's definitely between him and Mick Jagger, right?
posted by yoink at 10:16 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I listened to all of "Foggy Notion", and it's pretty cool, but "a dense matrix of wounded notes and overloaded raga electric as Reed takes almost Rallizes/Sharrock scale electric iconoclasm into new realms of post-Diddley hunch" is as pretentious as anything I've ever read.
posted by thelonius at 10:25 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just glanced at it out of curiousity, and it's surprisingly interesting. There's a pretty neat guitar interplay, it sounds almost symphonic at moments. And Tucker is such a perfect percussionist for this style.
posted by ovvl at 12:52 PM on August 25, 2014

> is as pretentious as anything I've ever read.


I mean, sure, the author's slinging a heavy load of poop here -- Historical significance isn't assertable, because if only small thousands of people ever saw the Velvets in concert and were influenced by them, how many people were seeking out and being influenced by these bootlegs of those shows? Importance within the band? Well, that's a product of the mix, isn't it? Volume doesn't equal stature.

But pretentious? The author has to be staking claims to being something he isn't, or asserting sensibilities he doesn't have. Here, I think the guy's just overly enthused and doing a bad job of expressing it. That's OK. It's a staple of fan-level critical writing. He'll get over it.
posted by ardgedee at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jesus I really don't get the point of pressing vinyl of really crappy recordings of a live gig... its just insane.
posted by mary8nne at 3:38 PM on August 25, 2014

I love Lou Reed and VU and I have a big box full of tapes of my own bands recorded on terrible cassette recorders placed atop my own guitar amp on stage. So what I'm saying is that I love this and I totally get the point of pressing vinyl of really crappy recordings of a live gig . . . it's just perfect.
posted by The World Famous at 4:21 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh man, my dad could have been at this show.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's definitely got that punk aesthetic of "not bothering to learn any scales", so sure...roll over, Beethoven.
posted by uosuaq at 7:32 PM on August 25, 2014

Great, great stuff. Perhaps they go a bit over the top, but basically I agree with Volcanic Tongue. This is some of the finest and most important rock and roll ever recorded. Wish the sound quality was better, but regardless, Lou just kills it here.
posted by caddis at 10:31 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

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