Lou Reed Berlin [Import]
Lou Reed co-founder of The Velvet Underground and the man behind such iconic rock songs as Sweet Jane and Walk on the Wild Side stars in one of the most satisfying concert films (Lee Marshall, Screen International) in decades. Oscar-nominated director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) captures this historic moment in time, as Reed performed his legendary 1973 album, Berlin, live for the first time. Rocking horns, soulful guitar and the angelic voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus bring Reed s devastatingly honest lyrics to full life in this exceptionally strong performance (John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter).
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Top Customer Reviews
This DVD could not be better if they tried. Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) directed this film and you can tell by the care given to it that he has a real love of this music (He has cut home movie styled clips to inhance the lyric). But the real treat is the music it's self. Lou is joined by Steve Hunter on Gtr.(He played on the 1973 album) and Bob Ezrin conducts the band (He produces the CD "Berlin" as well as Pink Floyd's The Wall, Peter Gabreil's fist CD and Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare to just mention a few). He also has Anthony with him again (He has one of the best voices you will ever here). Lou himself is great voice and seem's to be really into the performance. I could go on but i think you get the idea. If you like Lou Reed buy this DVD.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is MILES beyond anything the Stones, Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, etc have done in the last 20 years.
The only artists I know who come CLOSE to making their early 70's material relevant like this in new performance are Bruce Cockburn & Bowie's 90's work with Reeves Gabrels, neither of whom pulled it off like Reed does here.
Doesn't hurt to have a CRACK band anchored by Steve Hunter & Rob Wasserman (the entire band is tremendous).
What both makes it so special & oddly also at the same time might be my only criticism is this is NOT a greatest hits show. The only song on Berlin that qualifies for ME as a "greatest hit" is Lady Day (though the feel of the song has nothing in common with Billie Holiday stylistically, this song catches her essence better then any book I've ever read!). Berlin has several other strong songs (Sad Songs, Caroline Says, Men Of Good Fortune; there are NO bad songs on it), but again; it's not a hits show. We do get Sweet Jane as an Encore.
There's just something about seeing Reed feel these songs about being a 31 year old love lorn junkie as much at 64 as he did at 31 that melts me.
Though Lou always tells his stories through his character's eyes, this feels like confessional music written by an artist who is intimately acquainted with what life feels like in the dark aftermath of vanished love and vanished hope with nothing but the alchemy of his fevered brain to work with. And he produces not just a series of darkly beautiful and hauntingly introspective songs but a magnificently structured rock libretto replete with crashing rock chords, quiet cello and flute interludes, and a soul-replenishing choir. Its as if the artist had confronted oblivion itself, wrestled with it, and come up from the lower depths (or the Hell's Kitchen of the soul) with this magisterial orchestration with which to enchant himself back into life. And then he caps it all off with the most achingly beautiful rendition of "Candy Says" (sharing vocals with the fragile and tender voiced Antony) that I've ever heard. And thankfully so because even though the song is equally nihilistic in its vision of self-escape ("What do you think I'd see if I could walk away from me") it is a much-needed deliverance into the familiar after the soul-tormented foreign tour that is Berlin. "Candy Says" is followed by the rarely performed "Rock Minuet" (another of Lou's epic visions of street struggle), and then Lou finishes the set with "Sweet Jane" to provide emotional catharsis and closure.
Julian Schnabel perfectly complements the fragmented narrative with a collage of disjointed visuals that underscore but never intrude upon or threaten the integrity of Lou's composition. Its a perfect marriage of audio and visual art (Schnabel wisely takes a minimalist low-tech scrapbook approach using wallpapered panels, slides, and, occasionally, super 8 footage to create layers of visuals to complement the layers of sound). Its such a seamless and pleasing blend that I would not be surprised if this concert/art event does not become the new paradigm for concert/art in the decades to come.
Its so intimate and so intense that you feel like you are a kid again listening and responding to an album you just bought. In fact I was not familiar with this record so that is precisely the feeling that I had with this piece of music.
I'll admit that I do not love everything that Lou has done, but this is music that stirs the creative self and the heart and intrigues the ear in endless ways! I can think of very few albums that succeed on so many levels (Lou goes places no other artist goes) and get you responding on so many levels. This is music made and performed by an artist with all cylinders (light and dark) firing; Lou holds nothing back here and so you too respond with everything that you've got.
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