Velvet Underground’s First Appearance

film still
Courtesy Re:Voir

It was a combination that could not have been more striking: The Velvet Underground performing at a psychiatry congress. And yet this concert given by the group on 14 January 1966 at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City was its very first public appearance, and Jonas Mekas, who was there with his hand-held camera, lets the room shake appropriately for the occasion. Flashes of light, jerky movements, a nonchalant Andy Warhol in a tuxedo, all filmed with a nervous hand, and then the band performing in front of huge shadows. I’ll Be Your Mirror is the perfectly fitting song title (recorded in April 1966 and inserted afterwards), while Gerard Malanga and Edie Sedgwick perform their sadomasochistic whip dance. Later, there are scenes from a private party: the mood and clothing are more casual, the camera even more wobbly, and it is not only people who dance, but the whole, seemingly bottomless and weightless space.


  • original Title: Velvet Underground’s First Appearance
  • Date: 14.1.1966
  • Genre: Film, Concert

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