You can see why the Velvet Underground reunion tour fell apart before it hit North America. They were proto-punks and one of the most influential underground bands ever, and mounting a greatest-hits tour as mild middle-aged rockers is kind of like the Sex Pistols reforming. Oh, wait, the Sex Pistols did do that, and it was lame.
On the bright side, this concert DVD of the Velvet's brief reunion isn't nearly as depressing as it could be. While the brutal shards of feedback and walls of noise have been pruned away, the reinterpretations are drastic and creative enough to let us believe that the project wasn't conceived just for the money. Shortly after this was recorded, guitarist Sterling Morrison succumbed to cancer, so it's the last documentation of his quirky, abstract takes on country licks, and he sounds great here.
Visually, the thing is a bit of a bore, but that's to be expected from deadpan performers like Lou Reed and John Cale, and the way the four of them interact during Maureen Tucker's turn at the mic for I'm Sticking With You is actually kind of touching.
Not nearly as bad as some feared, but Velvet Underground are not going to change the face of music this time around.