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John Cale Plots Only North American ‘Velvet Underground & Nico’ Concert

John Cale, who co-founded the Velvet Underground in the mid-Sixties, will mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s revolutionary 1967 debut LP, The Velvet Underground & Nico, with special shows this fall at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The program, titled John Cale: The Velvet Underground & Nico (Program A), will find him playing each of the LP’s 11 tracks alongside the Wordless Music Orchestra and special guests. It will take place on November 16th and 17th. A second presentation, subtitled (Program B), will focus on songs from throughout his career, including selections from the Velvet Underground and his solo work, backed by the Wordless Music Orchestra and Chorus. It will take place on November 18th.

Cale previously staged a Velvet Underground & Nico concert last year in Paris, where Pete Doherty, Mark Lanegan and Animal Collective, among others, joined him onstage. He has another album-anniversary event scheduled to take place in Liverpool, England this Friday.

In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, he said that he had invited the only other surviving musician to play on the album, drummer Moe Tucker, to join him at the concerts but that she was afraid of flying. He said he was holding out hope she would join him for one of the upcoming shows.

As for the performances themselves, the famously experimental musician said he was having fun pushing the boundaries with the songs … within reason. “‘Heroin’ was really difficult, but it worked,” he said of the Paris show. “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.”

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