May 28, 2014

Found: 33 minutes of The Velvet Undergound at the Boston Tea Party, 1967, in color!

Mind: boggled. Thank you, internet. Here is some color footage of the Velvet Underground live in Boston from 1967. The sound quality pretty much suck, but who cares? If you listen closely you'll be able to make out some of the tunes. According to the uploader this was "directed" by Andy Warhol. I'm not not sure what that means exactly, but this is truly a treasure. Here is the description:

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND IN BOSTON (1967, sound, color, 33 mins. Dir: Andy Warhol):

This newly unearthed film, which Warhol shot during a concert at the Boston Tea Party, features a variety of filmmaking techniques. Sudden in-and-out zooms, sweeping panning shots, in-camera edits that create single frame images and bursts of light like paparazzi flash bulbs going off mirror the kinesthetic experience of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, with its strobe lights, whip dancers, colorful slide shows, multi-screen projections, liberal use of amphetamines, and overpowering sound. 

It is a significant find indeed for fans of the Velvets, being one of only two known films with synchronous sound of the band performing live, and this the only one in color. It's fitting that it was shot at the Boston Tea Party, as the Beantown club became one of the band's favorite, most-played venues, and was where a 16-year-old Jonathan Richman faithfully attended every show and befriended the group. Richman, who would later have his debut recordings produced by John Cale, and later yet record a song about the group, is just possibly seen in the background of this film.

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