THE VELVET UNDERGROUND – Beginning To See The Light (Dallas: 1969 / HQ Colour)
VIDEO INFO: Graciously preserved, stored and now released into the public domain in the last few days by the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection of Southern Methodist University. For my money, if they had stumbled across another 2 unseen hours of the Zapruder film it could scarcely be more exciting than this GENUINELY RARE AND UNSEEN found-footage from 1960’s Dallas! Specifically, it is from something billed very grandly as the ‘Dallas Peace Moratorium against the Vietnam War’ that took place on 15th October, 1969 – but looks more like a well-attended birthday party, than the more militant things occurring elsewhere (in Ohio say) and probably lacking the same urgency in LBJ’s heartland. So included on the bill and casually filmed fulfilling that obligation, were the rebooted ‘Mark II’ Velvet Underground who, having shed some the more noir, avant-garde aspects of the Andy Warhol / John Cale period; seem to have (literally) a lot of sunshine about them – more typical of the West Coast types, but sounding no less relevant.
Here I have cobbled together virtually every frame of the five minutes or so of footage (out of a total of about 30 mins from the entire event) specifically including the band or their performance. The quality of the film, although shot in an amateurish manner and virtually unedited, is astounding and perhaps untouched since it was made, seemingly as a studenty endeavour, maybe by the organisers of the ‘protest’. However, given its age, it is remarkably sharp and unblemished and virtually the only colour footage yet seen of the band from this period. There was almost no surviving audio, but what could be faintly heard from a separate mic channel supports how I have presented things here ie. The majority was the performance of ‘Beginning To See The Light’ and ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’. I’ve gone with the former, feeling it more appropriate and overlaid the ‘remastered’ version of the live recording made at the San Francisco Matrix about five weeks after this film was made. Originally a bootleg, it was included on the ‘Super-Deluxe’ / 45th Anniversary Box Set of ‘The Velvet Underground’ album. It’s almost indistinguishable from the version that appeared on the ‘1969: Live / Volume 1’ album that was also recorded in Dallas just a few days after this (but the Matrix version is better quality with superior acoustics); so the audio is very faithful to what would be expected, had the original survived. Other than roughly re-editing the footage to fit the song (I have way too much time on my hands!) and a bit of a clean-up I’ve left everything else alone and free of effects …even the motif of a concert flyer appearing from the under the leaves was part of the original footage.