I’ve always loved set lists–those ephemeral pieces of paper with a list of the songs to be played at a particular concert, usually written out by an artist or band member before the show. These days, they’re often typed out on a computer, printed out, and taped on the ground in front of each band member’s monitor by a roadie. But back in the day, they were usually scribbled out quickly by a band member on whatever scrap of paper was handy, and set down somewhere close to whoever was going to call out the songs.
Often left on the stage after the show, these were sometimes snatched up by wise fans–and just as often thrown in the trash by someone with no sense of history. Thank god, then, that the late Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison had a real sense of history. Sterling was one of those artists who seemingly saved everything–he had a great collection of Velvets records, acetates, posters, handbills–and he even saved the setlists.
Above is a Velvet Underground set list (handwritten by Sterling) for their January 15, 1970 date at The Quiet Night in Chicago. The band played a week’s worth of gigs at this club, and as we can see from this, played multiple sets each night. The songs date from the first 3 Velvets albums (their most recent was the self titled “The Velvet Underground”, released in March, 1969) as well as some songs that remained unreleased until much later. Their final album (OK, the final one with Lou Reed,) “Loaded” wouldn’t be released until September of 1970. I’d love to hear from anyone out there who might have other set lists they want to share–or perhaps sell. I’m always on the lookout for this type of unique item.