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Lou Reed Berlin [Import]

Lou Reed , Fernando Saunders , Julian Schnabel    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Music DVD's Ever! Sept. 30 2008
By Stephen Bieth TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Laster Bang's called Lou Reed's Berlin the most depressing reord ever made (I feel Lou Reed's "Magic and Loss" is). That being said do not buy this thinking you are going to be dancing around while it plays on your DVD player. But odd's are if you are buying a Lou Reed DVD you know what you are getting.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lou does right by his lost masterpiece Sept. 19 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In 1973, Lou Reed followed up his hit album "Transformer" with his dark tale of lost love and abuse Berlin, possibly the most depressing album ever made. Not surprisingly it was not a commercial success, and Lou never really returned to it after the gorgeous "Lady Day" on his followup album, Rock'n'Roll Animal. Now in 2007, he returns to the material to perform the album live for the first time ever, and there to capture the moment is Julian Schnabel. This is no "Last Waltz" in terms of film-making, but Schnabel doesn't get in the way here; rather, he keeps us focused on the action on stage, capturing the strings and horns when they're in full flight, but not missing the searing riffs that Lou exchanges with Steve Hunter. The band is not as tight as Brian Wilson's Smile, but they bring a very visceral feel that underlines the material well. Caroline Says II is every bit as devastating as the original, so if it's the darkness that's bringing you here, the atmosphere is suitably grim. Lou obviously felt this material was worth resurrecting meticulously, and it evokes the heartbreaking performance that the story demands. Good for him, and lucky for us.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARHOLS DREAM HAS COME TRUE....BERLIN LIVE!!! Oct. 19 2008
By W. T. Hoffman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
After Lou's career was saved by Bowie IN 1972 with Lou's LP "Transformer", Lou went against expectation, creating his version of conceptual ARTROCK. BERLIN discribes the lives of two lovers, Jim and Caroline, her a singer, speed addict and mother, he a "waterboy". Berlin's reception in 1973 was cool, tho since that time, it has been critically reevaluated, and is now seen as his best, or second best solo LP. I love the heavy orchestration that has seldom been used before or since with Lou's work, and love the intensity of the relationship's tragedy at Berlin's core. Andy Warhol also loved the LP, and when it came out, he tried to get ahold of Lou, in order to mount a "cabaret" version of the LP. Sadly, Andy never connected with Lou, until Lou had morphed into his "ROCK AND ROLL ANIMAL" phase, shooting heroin, bleaching hair, etc. It took Lou only 35 years, to mount his cabaret version of BERLIN, but it was worth the wait. Lou's recent work has been sort of hit and miss, and I didnt expect this DVD to sound like the original album. Nevertheless, ALL the orchestration is intact from the album, and played note for note. Not only that, BERLIN adapts perfectly to the visual medium. Behind Lou, is a projection machine shows us, like the photographs in the BERLIN LP, a cinematic view of the lyrical storyline. Everything combines to bring forth an amazing show, that had me singing along for most of the album. Highlights, like "Caroline Says I", "Men of Good Fortune" and "Oh Jim" brought me goosebumps. When Jim beats Caroline up for shooting speed, and cheating on him, the guitar solo perfectly reflects the fight that destroyed the lover's relationship for the whole album. Its the dramatic summit of the piece. Backed up with the entire "rock orchestra" building on a riff, Lou attempts his Cecil Taylor-influenced guitar soloing, and pulls it off. BERLIN was amazing when it came out, its amazing now. All i can say to recommend this is, "IF" you are a fan of this album, then you wont be disappointed by the DVD, I can guarentee it. The only problem I had at all, was that Lou tried to speak/sing the parts, instead of singing the actual melodic vocal lines, as written in 1973. Since the production is very dense on the original BERLIN album, the vocal lines were often doubled by violin parts, or by the backing singers' harmonies. So, it's sort of sad not having Lou willing (or able?) to sing the original vocal parts. After the BERLIN album is performed, Lou and his basic rock band break into SWEET JANE. Then, CANDY SAYS begins, with ANTONY from ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS singing the song to heartbreaking perfection. The album BERLIN is so visual, so cinematic, that to watch it performed like this, reinforces and elucidates the literary concept so well. For Lou/VU fans that never saw Lou play live, or never got a chance to see BERLIN live when Lou toured it, this DVD is a great consilation prise. I only wish that, like the "A NIGHT WITH LOU REED" video from 1983, the camera could have turned to the audience, to show Andy Warhol enjoying the realization of his dream for the BERLIN concept album, all these years later. Bravo, Lou.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Improve A Masterpiece Nov. 8 2008
By G. Ratcheson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Saw the DVD last night. Very short review: 5 stars out of 5. I can't think of ANY other rocker in their mid 60's interpreting their early material from 1973 with this sort of INTEGRITY, power, musicianship, musicality & emotion.

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.

Highly recommended.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou at his most lyrical and introspective Oct. 16 2008
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The 1973 album, Berlin, is a dark operatic song-cycle about speed junkies Caroline and Jim. Both of them work the streets but when it is determined that Caroline is an unfit mother and her kids are taken away by social services the story gets even darker and Caroline and Jim's lives take separate but equally horrific turns for the worse. Taken individually songs like "Men of Good Fortune" and "How do you think it Feels" are very good but not quite equal to Lou's greatest. But together these songs build upon each other and combine to create one of the most viscerally wrenching experiences in modern music. Admittedly, much of this sounds like it was written on cocktail napkins during a very dark, albeit painfully lucid, night of the soul. But the result is the most sublime music of Lou's career.

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.

Highest rating.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection on Perfection Oct. 4 2008
By Vincent G. Marino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Berlin" is one of the most depressing albums of all time, along with Neil Young's "Tonight's The Night" and "Faith" by The Cure. Seeing and hearing "Berlin" performed live makes the album even better. And, Antony singing "Candy Says" with Lou for the encore is priceless. It's no surprise that "Berlin" was panned in '73. Like modern classical music, it takes time for its genius to sink in. Lou's age and life experience also makes this a powerful performance. He was still a young man in '73. 35 years later, these songs take on a whole new level of pathos, terror and brilliance.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Concert Film Oct. 11 2008
By M. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is one of the best concert films I've ever seen. Reed performs his sad, sad album 'Berlin" for the first time ever. The sound quality surpasses the album because there is a girls' choir, a horn section and a string section to fill out the sound as well as two fine background singers. And the returnees are no slouches either. Guitarist Steve Hunter from the original album (and, incidentally, Reed's live album "Rock and Roll Animal") rips astonishing solo after solo like a true guitar hero, and also provides tasty fills and riffs when required. Reed himself plays better rhythm guitar than on the original, and though his voice isn't what it used to be, you can see the pain in his face as he recalls the experiences that inspired the songs. Throughout, Schnabel projects interesting images behind the performers. Wish I had been there . . . .
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