Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lou Reed set to conquer Europe with 'Berlin'

Lou Reed returns to Europe this June to perform the entirety of his 1973 landmark album Berlin. The European dates will see Reed performing with a 30-piece ensemble including his rock band, a string section, a horn section, and a children's choir.

The Berlin tour is being hailed as a rare insight into one of music's greatest minds, a labour of love and an integral part of rock history. It's also the best concert that Reed has ever performed. I had the joy of catching the show in Brussels, Amsterdam and London last year, and audiences were blown away.

Lou Reed: 'Berlin' 2008 European Tour:

Monday June 23 - Cork Marquee
Tuesday June 24 - Belfast Waterfront
Wednesday June 25 - Edinburgh Playhouse
Thursday June 26 - Notthingham Royal Centre
Sunday 29th June - Paris Salle Pleyel
Monday June 30 - London Royal Albert Hall
Thursday July 3 - Munich Philharmonie
Sunday July 6 - Hamburg CCH – Congress Centrum
Monday July 7 - Copenhagen Opera House
Wednesday July 9 - Stockholm Annexet
Monday July 14 - Warsaw Sala Kongresowa
Wednesday July 16 - Brussels Bozar
Tuesday July 22 - Madrid Conde Duque
Friday July 25 - Girona Portaferrada Festival
Saturday July 26 - Benidorm Bullring

The European tour starts June 23rd in Cork, followed by dates in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Belgium and Spain.

Due to popular demand for this prestigious show, Berlin will make a special return visit to London, Brussels and Paris. In addition to playing Poland for the very first time, Reed will also be annoucing dates in Estonia and Latvia; two Eastern European countries that Reed has never played before.

Reed will perform three dates in the UK, including the prestigious London Royal Albert Hall on June 30th. He will also perform 'Berlin' at the Edinburgh Playhouse on June 25th, followed by the Nottingham Opera House on June 26th.

Tickets for all three UK concerts are now on sale by calling the ticket hotline on 08444 775 775, 0870 405 0448, or by booking online from (with the exception of the Edinburgh Playhouse concert on 25th June, where tickets can be purchased by calling 0844 847 2269,

The Financial Times' Ludovic Hunter-Tilney called the Berlin concert; "A vindication on an epic scale… Berlin places Reed's natural austerity in a setting that blazes with musical excess and invention."

"Reed can't hide the pride he feels that Berlin is finally being hailed as a long lost masterpiece, wrote Paul Morley of the Sunday Telegraph. "He strolls off stage looking as if he always knew that one day he would be feted a devastating master."

The 2008 'Berlin' European Tour follows the 2007 European tour, which, in turn, followed Berlin's original world premiere at St. Anne's Warehouse in New York City, December 2006 - the same venue where Reed first performed the Andy Warhol inspired Songs For Drella with John Cale in 1990.

When Lou Reed's album Berlin was originally released in 1973, it was a shock to critics and fans that had just seen Reed reaffirmed as a rock visionary with the runaway success of Transformer, which included the runaway Top 20 hit Walk on the Wild Side.

Instead of producing an album that enhanced his reputation as glam-rock innovator, Reed immersed himself in a highly ambitious, emotionally charged, psychologically exhausting, and utterly compelling work. Berlin was a dark concept album about drifting, tormented addicts in love, broken hearted and willfully disabled ex-pats, plotting their own downfalls in the barren outskirts of a divided city in turmoil.

The New York Times called the album "one of the strongest, most original rock records in years." Rolling Stone named it, "the Sgt. Pepper of the 70s."

The same magazine—among many others—attacked Reed for the work: "There are certain records that are so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them. Reed's only excuse for this performance…can only be that this was his last shot at a once-promising career." Reed never performed Berlin live.

Thirty-three years after the release of the album, Reed launched the world premiere of an electrifying theatrical concert version of Berlin at St. Anne's Warehouse, New York City (December 14-17, 2006), followed by three performances at Australia's Sydney Festival (January 18-20, 2006). The Berlin song cycle was performed live in its entirety. Reed and his band were accompanied by a string and horn section and a children's choir, amounting to a 35-piece ensemble.

As in the making of the original album, the forthcoming 2008 European tour will see Reed l collaborating with an all-star creative team including musical direction by the original producer, Bob Ezrin—who produced the Berlin album, and record producer Hal Willner, whose most recent works include the Leonard Cohen tribute concert I'm Your Man (now a theatrically released documentary film and an album on Verve Forecast) and Lucinda Williams.

Similarly to last year's 'Berlin' European tour, and before that, the New York and Sydney concerts, the forthcoming 2008 Berlin European concerts will be directed and set designed by Reed's friend, the renowned painter and film director Julian Schnabel (recently Academy Award nominated Best Director for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).

Reed will be joined onstage by friends and favorite collaborators including original Berlin album guitarist Steve Hunter, Mike Rathke (guitar), bandleader Rupert Christie (keyboards), Fernando Saunders (bass, vocals), Rob Wasserman (stand-up bass), Tony 'Thunder' Smith (drums), brass and strings arranged by Hal Willner, featuring the London Metropolitan Orchestra and the New London Children's Choir.