Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lou Reed knocks 'em dead at the London Hammersmith Apollo

Lou Reed performed to a sold out London audience at London Hammersmith Apollo last night. Reed performed the entirety of his 1973 classic album 'Berlin' to a thunderous 10-minute standing ovation.

Highlights included the haunting "The Kids" featuring the London Children's Youth Choir on backing vocals, "The Bed" the song where the main character, Caroline, commits suicide, and the victorious and tearful "Sad Song" which ended the show. Hats off went to original Berlin album guitarist, Steve Hunter, who nailed it on every single song - the same cat who played guitar on Reed's live album "Rock'n'Roll Animal".

The Bob Ezrin produced album was given an imaginative new arrangement, augumented by a string section, horn section, a new backing vocalist calle Katy, and Reed's core rock band featuring bassist and backing vocalist Fernando Saunders, drummy Tony Thunder Smith and stand up bassist Rob Wasserman. Even Hal Willner, 'Berlin's musical director, walked out on stage to hug Reed for performing a fantastic show.

After the rapturous standing ovation, Reed and his 26-piece orchestra returned to the stage for stunning new-arranged live versions of "Sweet Jane", "Satellite of Love" and "Walk on the Wildside". It was Satellite of Love that triumphed with a refreshing news musical arrangement which showed off Fernando Saunder's falsetto vocal range, backing vocalist Katy's soulful vocals (look out Annie Lennox!) and some wild guitar playing by Reed and Hunter.

I'd been to the Apollo several times but never experienced this kind of electric audience reaction to a rock concert before. It was as if everyone had a lightening rod wedged up their ass and the power was turned on at 10. If you missed this show, you definitely missed out on a piece of rock history.

'Berlin' live is Lou Reed's swansong.