"In the period of April '67 to Mar '69 the Velvets played Cleveland 7 times. After an appearance with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable at Public Hall, they returned 5 times to play a basement club called La Cave, situated between a ghetto and the Cleveland Orchestra's home, Severance Hall. Located beneath the local social security offices, the former coffee house was virtually the only place during that period in which the band could play, the only other options being the Music Hall, a 3,000 seat auditorium, and the 10,000 seat Public Hall which was more suited to circuses and expositions. La Cave's dimensions were 60'x125' with a seating capacity of 250-300. The club would generally book rock bands to play Fri-Sat, two shows a night with an occasional 3:00 Sunday afternoon show. For the mere sum of $3.50 entrance was gained to a dimly lit rectangle with burlap and church pews covering one long wall, the stage on the other, and tables in between. The PA was Voice Of the Theaters powered by a low tech amp and mixed by a rudimentary board. The stage was a platform 10 inch high with barely enough room for the Velvets stage gear, which was comprised at first of double cabinet Vox amps, later changed to Acoustic amps. The drums had to be put on Lou's right, on the floor next to the PA cabinet. On Oct 4, 1968 the VU came in for another 3 day stand. With Cale being given the boot in late August, this marks Yule's first public appearance with the band, and Reed rose magnificently to the occasion with marvelous guitarwork and much more forceful vocals than had been his wont. Sterling put the finishing touches on his bid for the title of the worlds greatest rhythm guitarist."
The three following tracks come from the Live '68 bootleg album. This album was recorded at La Cave on October 4, 1968 on a mono Norelco cassette recorder using a hand held mike and a Norelco C-120 cassette.
"Between sets the Velvets would play backstage, improvising melodies and warming up for the next set. (There exists a tape of Reed extolling the virtues of the guitar as opposed to other instrumentation and by way of example playing a precise imitation of Cecil Taylor.) They opened the second set with Move Right In, one of their best one chord throwaway songs. That's Sterling noodling away in his imitation of a tape loop while Reed plays rhythm and does an impressive job of improvising vocals."
"An excellent example of how a song that the Velvets worked on for months on tour ended up as an emasculated skeleton on Reed's first solo album. This version contains Lou's finest solo guitar work since I Heard Her Call My Name."
"Another gem. Far from the washed out version on the MGM acetate this has a fire and enthusiasm the Velvets could rarely capture on record by this time.
She made me do something that I never did before
By Olivier Landemaine
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