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The Velvet Underground: Live at Max's Kansas City

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (8/3/72, p.37) - "...The sound is remarkably good...and the ambience is full-blown Max's..."

Rolling Stone (p.124) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[I]t's still their warmest, most intimate live album..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.123) - "This is historically important..." - Grade: B

Q (p.134) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[A]s an insight into their fleeting stay as a good-time band, it's not bad at all."

Uncut (p.122) - 5 stars out of 5 - "LIVE AT MAX's held huge sway for the bravura of its mellow, metallic-edged sound and decadent atmosphere..."

Magnet (p.91) - "The Velvets on LIVE are exuberant and polished..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.112) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[W]ith good-natured energy..."

Album Notes

A far cry from the fervor of the seminal LIVE 1969, this live recording, though it was made only a year later, is the swan song of the Velvet Underground. Velvets fan/friend Brigid Polk brought her home cassette machine to this gig at one of the band's favorite NY haunts to record it for herself. Though it was cleaned up upon its eventuation to album format, it still bears the lo-fi marks of it's origin, adding to the gritty, you-were-there feeling.

The band had lost idiosyncratic, minimalist drummer Mo Tucker by this time, and were performing material from what's arguably their least memorable album (LOADED), so there's none of their previous live fireworks to be found here. By this time, it was undisputedly Reed's show, so just think of this as the first great live Lou Reed album. The band is at their most polished here, but the amateur sound quality provides a serendipitously ragged edge to the proceedings. The first half of the album is filled with bracing rockers, mostly from LOADED, while the second contains the band's most affecting ballads, largely from their earlier albums. Get 1969 first, then explore this album's subtler charms.


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