On this day: the Velvet Underground’s First Concert

Tuesday, 11th November 2014 by

On this day in 1965, the Velvet Underground performed their first real concert at a high school dance in Summit, New Jersey. Drummer Angus MacLise quit the band in protest at actually getting paid and having to play on time - commercial aspects of performing which didn’t fit his artistic vision.

Summit High School

The quartet of John Cale, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker played three songs, “There She Goes Again, Venus in Furs, and Heroin. A band history describes the crowd as “an almost wholly uncomprehending and unappreciative audience of adolescents” and Morrison’s wife said that the auditorium was mostly empty by the time they finished. However, one person present wrote positively: “Before we could take it all in, everyone was hit by a screeching surge of sound, with a pounding beat louder than anything we had ever heard:” and it seems likely that they won over a few fans who were doubtless inspired to pick up their own guitar and form bands.