Since Lou Reed was the main singer and songwriter for The Velvet Underground and has understandably continued to play plenty of VU songs live when he was a solo artist, I’ve decided to put them together in one poll.
This article includes a readers poll where you can vote for the best of the Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground live albums and then see the results of those who have gone before you.
The Velvet Underground Studio Albums
The Velvet Underground recorded four legendary studio albums between 1966 and 1970 whilst Lou Reed was a member – The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground and Loaded.
Some will argue that all are essential in a well balanced music collection. I would only say that for the first one.
The Velvet Underground Live Albums
The band didn’t release any live albums whilst they were together but Live at Max’s Kansas City appeared in 1972 and 1969: The Velvet Underground Live was released in 1974. The first of these featured Doug Yule rather than John Cale Maureen Tucker had also left by the time the second was recorded in August 1970.
Since then many more have appeared.
- 1966 Live at Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio, November 4, 1966 (sold with the 45th anniversary edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico album)
- 1967 Live At The Gymnasium, New York City, April 30, 1967 (sold as part of the Deluxe Edition of White Light/White Heat
- 1968 La Cave 1968: Problems In Urban Living
- 1968 Boston Tea Party. December 12th 1968
- 1969 The Velvet Underground Live, now sold as volumes 1 and 2.
- 1969 The Quine Tapes
- 1969 At The End Of Cole Ave- 1st Night
- 1969 At The End Of Cole Ave- 2nd Night
- 1970 Live at Max’s Kansas City
- 1971 to 1973 Final V.U. 1971–1973
- 1993 Live MCMXCIII
Lou Reed Studio Albums
As a solo artist, Lou Reed has also recorded some excellent albums including Transformer, Berlin, Coney Island Baby and New York.
Lou Reed died on October 27, 2013.
Lou Reed Live Albums
The popularity of live albums in the 1970s meant that Reed could follow rather than set this trend.
- 1972 American Poet aka Walk On The Wild Side NY 1972
- 1972 Le Bataclan ’72 with John Cale and Nico
- 1973 Rock n Roll Animal
- 1973 Live aka Extended Versions (from the same concert as Rock n Roll Animal
- 1976 Waiting For The Man (Roxy LA January 1976) aka Winter At The Roxy
- 1976 Thinking Of Another Place.. (Akron October 23. 1976)
- 1978 Live: Take No Prisoners
- 1978 Hassled In April (Chicago 1978)
- 1983 Live In Italy aka Live In Concert
- 1984 Doin’ The Things….. That We Want To
- 1997 Perfect Night: Live in London
- 2003 Animal Serenade
- 2006 Berlin: Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse
- 2008 The Stone: Issue Three with John Zorn and Laurie Anderson
- 2008 The Creation of the Universe by Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio
What Are The Best Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground Live Albums?
Some of these are much better known than others and some are recorded radio broadcasts that can be released through a loophole in the copyright laws.
The choice however, is overwhelming.
What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?
I classify the Velvet Underground as a proto-punk and psychedelic band so some of their albums feature in the polls to find the best proto-punk live album and the best psychedelic rock live album.
I’ve included Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll Animal with its full blown guitar wok-outs of the classic Velvet Underground songs in the poll for the best hard rock and heavy metal live album.
Both Rock n Roll Animal and Live recorded at the same concert have been included in the poll for the best glam rock live album with the pumped-up sound and the close link to the Transformer studio album.
Some of his gentler albums perhaps should be included in the singer songwriter live albums poll.