Rare unseen footage of The Velvet Underground performing at a protest in 1969 has been unearthed
The growing legend of New York’s empirically cool alt-pop royalty, The Velvet Underground, has churned up another Easter Egg for its fans as some rare and previously unseen colour footage has arisen of the band performing at a protest back in 1969.
We’ve all seen the grainy black and white images of the band performing at Andy Warhol’s factory or some singed-at-the-edge of Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico and Co. showing a local saloon their best art-rock. But this rare colour film shows the band giving it their all in the refreshing kaleidoscopic hues of the sixties protest movement.
Dangerous Minds reports that the footage was nearly forgotten before being recently unearthed 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 exactly know how they came into possession of the footage or even why it was originally recorded, but they’ve cleaned up and digitised the film for our unusually modern viewing—something very rare when trawling through the clips of VUs early days.
The Velvet Underground may have been NYC royalty with their performances at legendary venues CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City, but you wouldn’t often find the band too far South of their Greenwich home. So when performing a string of shows in Dallas in an October week of 1969, they jumped at the opportunity to take part in a local protest against the Vietnam War named ‘Dallas Peace Day’. The event took place on October 15th at the Winfrey Point building which overlooks White Rock Lake and included acts Stone Creek, Velvet Dream, Lou Mitchel, Lou Rawls as well as The Velvet Underground.
The footage shows the band performing three classic tracks: ‘I’m Waiting for the Man’, ‘Begining to See the Light’, and ‘I’m Set Free’.
The clip even has an interview between guitarist Sterling Morrison offering the South a few notes on New York protests: “In New York, there’s a tone of anarchy that’s missing here,” he says while admiring the peaceful Southern rallies.
The clips even included some silent footage of Lou Reed and co offering close-ups and candid shots of the band performing.