The Velvet Underground were at the height of their musical powers when they played an 18-night residency at San Francisco’s The Family Dog and the Matrix clubs in the winter of 1969.
Now, for the first time in 46 years, recordings from two of those classic performances will be made available to rock n’ roll fans.
Polydor will release The Matrix Tapes, a special 4-disc album of Velvet Underground live tracks culled from the band’s November 26 and November 27, 1969 performances at the Matrix, on November 20. As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, November 26, 1969 marked the day President Richard Nixon signed the deeply unpopular draft lottery bill, and the following day was Thanksgiving.
The highly-charged political environment and vibrant pulse of late-60s San Francisco apparently combined to produce two of the most iconic performances in the band’s short history.
“On one hand, [it] is just two nights, in one room, in the life of a working band,” Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke writes in the album’s liner notes. “It also has everything they aspired to and achieved on stage, every night, everywhere: the magnificent aggression and determined joy; the fictions shot through with truth; the lasting bonds established in almost total, commercial blackout.”
The album features 42 tracks recorded over those two fateful nights in 1969, including “New Age” and “Rock and Roll,” which eventually found their way onto the group’s 1970 album Loaded.
Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed passed away in October 2013 at the age of 71 of complications from liver disease.
Check out the complete tracklist for The Matrix Tapes below, courtesy of Amazon.