The Velvet Underground‘s John Cale and Moe Tucker reunited recently for a keyboard-banging performance of “I’m Waiting for the Man,” a track off their 1967 debut, The Velvet Underground and Nico. Cale played a Kurzweil and sang Lou Reed’s part, while Tucker played the woodblock along with Cale’s band, as part of the Grammy Salute to Music Legends concert. A clip of the performance is premiering here.
The show, which also features the artists playing the LP’s “Sunday Morning,” will air as a two-hour special on PBS’ Great Performances Friday at 9 p.m. local times and will be available to stream on the Great Performances website.
The Recording Academy held the Salute to Music Legends concert this past June at New York’s Beacon Theatre to honor its Special Merit Awards recipients. In addition to the Velvet Underground, the honorees include Nina Simone, Sly Stone, Dionne Warwick, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, songwriter and producer Thom Bell and record executive Mo Ostin, among others. The musicians were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards, recognizing their “contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording,” while Bell, Ostin and others received Trustee Awards, highlighting their impact on musical fields other than performance.
Paul Schaffer served as music director for the event, which featured performances by Warwick, Randy Newman, Dwight Yoakam, Valerie Simpson, Vernon Reid, Kirk Franklin and others. Whoopi Goldberg also made an appearance to accept Simone’s award on the late singer’s behalf.
The Velvet Underground’s Cale has been marking the anniversary of the group’s debut with special performances of the album around the world. His next and final Velvet Underground and Nico performance will take place next month at Brooklyn’s BAM.
Earlier this year, Cale spoke with Rolling Stone about the album and how it’s taken on new life with his recent performances and how he was having fun reworking some of the more experimental works. “‘Heroin’ was really difficult, but it worked,” he said, looking back at a show he did in Paris. “I don’t know how far astray I want to go in the arrangements. When you come to a 50th-anniversary show, you expect to hear exactly what you heard before, or you at least hope it’s just as intense as it was before.”