Sunday, 17 March 2019

Lou Reed - Lou Reed Live (1975)

Candy came from out on the island....


Released March 1975

Recorded live In New York City December 1973

This album featured the remaining six tracks from Lou Reed's storming late 1973 New York City concert that were not included on 1974's Rock 'n' Roll Animal (and the subsequent expanded CD release). By digitally arranging the tracks along with the others you can create the entire original set list. Anyway, included on here is:-


1. Vicious
2. Satellite Of Love
3. Walk On The Wild Side
4. I'm Waiting For The Man
5. Oh, Jim
6. Sad Song                                            

Vicious showcases the double lead guitar attack of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner and has that same up-front power that Sweet Jane has on Rock 'n' Roll Animal. It has more "oomph" to it than the slightly tinny version that appeared on 1972's Transformer. The guitars are far more solid and chunky. For me, it is an improvement. Satellite Of Love is also turned into a glammy, guitar anthem, as it has no piano on it. That is a shame but this version still gives it a real robust ebullience. Reed's vocal is a little slurred in places but stirring in others.

Despite its delicious, melodic bassy simplicity, I should imagine that the iconic Walk On The Wild Side is quite difficult to reproduce, atmospherically. Reed and his band make a reasonable fist of it here. The bass is good, as are the backing vocals and Reed's vocals suitably understated. It is not given the in your face rock makeover that the other tracks on both albums are awarded. In this case, it is obviously a good thing. The sublime beauty of the original is not lost. It is pity to lose the saxophone solo at the end, however.

The Velvet Underground's I'm Waiting For The Man has a lively, funky backing crammed full of vitality and still retaining a lot of that sleazy Velvet Underground vibe. Oh Jim retains the pathos of the original, but has added rock strength here when compared to the original version on the Berlin album. It features some captivating, extended guitar/drum interplay in the middle. It eventually segues into the heartbreaking Sad Song, whose chilling lyrics are somewhat washed over by the excellence of the guitar and organ backing. On Berlin it is a disturbing, distressing song, here, perhaps wrongly, it it just a great rock number, loaded with killer guitar. The five songs from Berlin that appear in the full setlist are, because of their rock makeover, nowhere near as mortifying as on the original studio album.

For those interested:-


1. Sweet Jane
2. How Do You Think It Feels
3. Caroline Says 1
4. I'm Waiting For The Man
5. Lady Day
6. Heroin
7. Vicious
8. Satellite Of Love
9. Walk On The Wild Side
10. Oh, Jim
11. Sad Song
12. White Light/White Heat
13. Rock 'n' Roll

Listening to the whole concert gives one the right experience of the blend of tempo and feel to the songs as you expect from a well-constructed set list. Heroin, for example, is not a "second song in" track. Its correct place is where it is, at six, followed by the upbeat relief of Vicious.

The sound on this has not been remastered to the level of Rock 'n' Roll Animal so you need to turn it up a bit more, which is a minor irritant if listening to a playlist arranged from the original setlist. It is still reasonable sound, though. Apparently, Hunter and Wagner's guitar have been reversed from right to left channels in the stereo reproduction from Rock 'n' Roll Animal. This would spoil the listening experience for many people. Personally it doesn't bother me. By the way, what was with Lou's "Henry V" hairdo on the rear cover?


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