John Cale: 50th Anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico

One of the first cassette tapes I purchased at Tower Records when I moved to the East Village in the late 1980s was The Velvet Underground & Nico. I would walk down St. Marks Place and imagine what it would have been like to have been at one of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows watching Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker and Nico perform. When I saw that John Cale was performing the entire album at Brooklyn Academy of Music with special guests from the indie scene, I had to attend. There was an energy and vitality on the stage last night that made the music come alive once more — a fitting tribute to the 50th anniversary of the original band’s debut album. I was expecting to feel a sense of nostalgia when I heard the music, but I didn’t. The sounds were familiar but different (in a good way.) This was one of only three U.S. performances of the album in its entirety this year, and the collaborators were stellar: members of Wordless Music Orchestra, BGV Choral Group, Kurt Vile, Animal Collective, MGMT, Connan Mockasin, Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift), Thee Oh Sees, Tunde Adebimpe, and Sky Ferreira. The light show was spot-on, and the sublimely chaotic jam that ended the final number was thrilling. This Saturday at BAM, John Cale celebrates his 75th birthday with a concert that includes selections from his baroque pop album, Paris 1919, which I had the pleasure of hearing him perform in 2013.

John Cale: 50th Anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico
Eagerly awaiting John Cale at BAM on Thursday, November 16, 2017

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