Watch The Surviving Members Of The Velvet Underground Perform “I’m Waiting For The Man”

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I really love this. Earlier this year the Recording Academy held a Grammy Salute To Music Legends concert where they handed out Lifetime Achievement Awards to several artists including Nina Simone, Sly Stone and The Velvet Underground. The surviving members of the Underground – multi-instrumentalist John Cale and drummer Mo Tucker – reunited for the occasion in order to perform two songs, “Sunday Morning” and this historic gem, and what a blast it was.

I mean, what a thrill it is to see John Cale taking over the late Lou Reed’s lead vocals, fifty years after the fact, and doing it in a way that would make Lou proud. Just goes to show what an amazing person and artist John Cale is. When he first founded the Underground with Reed, John Cale was a classical and avant-garde artist who was credited with inventing the noise drone in 1964, an advance that wouldn’t find a real home until Industrial Rock arrived in the 1980s.

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The conflict between Cale’s avant-garde tendencies and Lou Reed’s twisted, back-alley Rock & Roll formed the basis of the Velvet Underground’s pioneering sound, but it also made it difficult for the two to work together for very long, and after two albums Cale was out on his own. The guy has had an extraordinary career since then, toggling between crazy, way-out there shit and more structured songmaking and production, both alone and in collaboration with a rogue’s gallery of musical partners.

But to see him performing Lou Reed’s classic “I’m Waiting For The Man” with such commitment and conviction is really quite moving. After all the water that’s passed under the bridge, it’s really a beautiful tribute to Lou from an old friend and partner. Mo Tucker only gets to pound the block, which is a little disappointing, but the rest of the band is completely on the mark, and this baby really rocks.

The Grammy Salute To Music Legends airs this week on many PBS stations, it looks like it’s got some other great performances too, check your local listings, your PVR should be all over this.

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