Picture The Velvet Underground performing in the 1960s. Go ahead, think of the footage you’ve tracked down of the art rockers’ concerts, their jams at The Factory, their earliest gigs. What you’re probably seeing is some grainy black-and-white scene that feels dated but iconic. Well, get ready for a completely new image, as rare color video of VU in concert and giving interviews has just been uncovered.
As Dangerous Minds reports, the never-before-seen footage was recently found amongst “hundreds of unmarked, unidentified, or damaged reels” in the G. Williams Jones Film & Video Collection, an archive at Dallas, Texas’ Southern Methodist University. The archive doesn’t know how they came into position of the footage nor why it was originally recorded, but they’ve painstakingly cleaned and digitized it all for our modern viewing wonder.
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It turns out The Velvet Underground were playing a run of shows in a Dallas club during the week of October 14th, 1969. The gigs marked their first concerts ever in the South, and in the middle of the stretch they decided to take part in a local Vietnam War protest dubbed Dallas Peace Day. Taking place on the 15th at the historic Winfrey Point building overlooking White Rock Lake, the relatively small gathering (estimates range between 600 and 3,000) saw performances by Stone Creek, Velvet Dream, Lou Mitchel, Lou Rawls, and yes, Velvet Underground.
In the color video, you can see The Velvet Underground performing three songs: “I’m Waiting for the Man”, “Beginning to See the Light”, and “I’m Set Free”. There are also clips of guitarist Sterling Morrison being interviewed by a man who identifies himself as working for “Notes”. Morrison talks about performing at protests in New York — “In New York, there’s a tone of anarchy that’s missing here” — while praising the pacifism of the Southern rallies. In another set of silent B-roll videos, you see members of the band members, including Lou Reed, talking to the camera and close-ups of the group performing.
Watch all the videos, cued up to the relevant VU segments, below. Also be on the look out for more new footage of the band, as filmmaker Todd Haynes recently finished his new documentary about the classic outfit.