First up, a nice long bash at “Heroin” complete with the infamous tied-off arm/syringe/shooting up bit. Cute. It’s easy to see why a Velvets freak like Lester Bangs would have been disgusted with his idol at this point. Talk about jumping the shark! What was the guy thinking? Nevertheless, naturally the heavily ‘luded out mid-70s audience squeals with delight as Uncle Lou pretends to jack up. Tacky then, tacky now, especially considering it was Hep C that basically killed the guy.
This was shot in Houston, Texas on November 13, 1974. It’s a bit wobbly, but it exists, you know? It exists.
“Sweet Jane,” “Vicious” and the beginning of “Heroin” on this clip (made from the original 1/2” B&W open reel mastertape, it says). Lou Reed obviously could not dance for shit:
Personally, I’m of the opinion that some of the best live Lou Reed recordings come from when “The Phantom of Rock” (as RCA was marketing him at the time) was being backed by a band called The Tots. This is the period around when Transformer first hit, “Walk On the Wild Side” was a massive smash and Reed had pretty much become a superstar in Europe. He had not yet fully gone over to the insectoid speedfreak dark side as seen above, but clearly he was working on it.
There are two fantastic bootlegs of this group worth looking for, “American Poet” recorded on Reed’s Long Island home turf in late 1972 and “The Phantom of Rock” taped live at Alice Tully Hall in January 1973.
This footage was shot for France’s POP2 television show. Reed sings “Walk On The Wild Side,” “Heroin” and “White Light/White Heat.” You’ll enjoy it more if you turn it up.