Lou Reed, John Cale & Nico :: Le Bataclan, Paris 1972

“This is a song about copping drugs in New York…”

Taste the whip. Captured in January 1972, a year and half following Lou Reed’s hard exit from the Velvet Underground, we find ourselves at Le Bataclan theatre, Paris, France. The occasion marked a semi-impromptu reunion of the former VU bandmates. For a night, anyway. Recorded via the club’s soundboard, and broadcasted on the French television program, Pop2, the fourteen track setlist finds the trio pulling from their individual solo catalogs, as well as vintage VU chestnuts (“The Black Angel’s Death Song”, “Femme Fatale”, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, etc.). Their first time taking the stage together in five years, the energy/tension coming off the 1000 capacity room is near palpable. And the performances, inspired, are made all the better for it. As is Reed’s banter

Widely bootlegged for decades prior to an official release in 2004, the proper issue tacks on a pair of tracks culled from the performance’s rehearsals. Per video footage, several abridged versions of the French television special pop up with irregularity online from time to time. Here are a couple . . .

“I’m Waiting for the Man” (Reed) “Berlin” (Reed) “The Black Angel’s Death Song” (Reed, Cale) “Wild Child” (Reed) “Heroin” (Reed) “Ghost Story” (Cale) “The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group of All” (Cale) “Empty Bottles” (Cale) “Femme Fatale” (Reed) “No One Is There” (Nico) “Frozen Warnings” (Nico) “Janitor of Lunacy” (Nico) “I’ll Be Your Mirror” (Reed) 12. All Tomorrow’s Parties” (encore) (Reed) “Pale Blue Eyes” (rehearsal) (Reed) “Candy Says” (rehearsal) (Reed)

Note: The bootleg version can be downloaded via the Velvet Underground Bootlegs website.