Sherman…set the Way-Back-Machine. The date, November 26, 1969. The place, the fabled North Beach club, The Matrix in San Francisco. The band, the second classic lineup of the Velvet Underground – singer-guitarist-songwriter Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, drummer Maureen Tucker and bass player Doug Yule take the stage. Here is another of those lost treasures, found and just now released in a four CD box, which includes the four complete sets of the Velvet Underground recorded over two nights.
On November 26th, 1969, President Richard M.Nixon signed a bill authorizing a lottery for an American military draft. The following day was Thanksgiving. The Matrix tapes are a unique look, one not seen until now, of one of the most critical and influential American rock bands coming out of the late sixties. Like many of his contemporaries, Lou Reed was critical of the administration and what it was doing to the youth culture in America. Reed’s sarcastic New York wit and dark lyrical dialog cuts a harsh contrast through the laid back west coast peace, love and happiness vibe that was going on in the audience for these shows. What this created was an edgy impassioned performance with moments of high volume frenzy on songs like White Light – White Heat, What Goes On and I Can’t Stand It; tempered by soft introspective songs like Venus in Furs, Pale Blue Eyes and After Hours. It makes for a “serious” sound experience.
If you’re looking for something to stuff into somebody sock this year, I would recommend this box over some of the other repurposed, repackaged options flooding the store shelves this holiday season. Enjoy Set One now, and then go pick up the complete box for yourself or for that “very Special One”.
Peace | Tom | Out