The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 18

Velvet Underground and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable | the ICA | October 29, 1966
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

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SQUINT, AND YOU'LL SEE: Phoenix staffer David Bieber (far left) with the Velvet Underground and Nico
The Velvet Underground would not have been confused with anything remotely close to a popular band in 1966 — at least not outside of New York. They were minimalist, dark, spiky, streetwise, with songs that scraped against the grain of hippie peace and love. Boston’s first taste of Lou Reed cynicism came in two with Andy Warhol’s notorious “Exploding Plastic Inevitable,” a multi-media traveling tour that Perry Farrell would certainly have approved of. Of course, instead of playing a rock club, they were invited to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Not much remains from that October show. “They went from zero to 80 in terms of the eye-opening aspect of performance,” remembers Phoenix/WFNX staffer David Bieber. “I knew the music, but had no idea of what stage presentation awaited me — not only did you have this primitive rock-and-roll band, and this exquisite female singer, Nico, you also had this psychedelic light show. It was the complete package. I had never seen this kind of unleashed choreography. This was anarchistic rock and roll, with passion and chaos.”
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Related: The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 38, Photos: Howard Zinn and memorabilia, Return of a band’s band, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Institute of Contemporary Art,  More more >
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