Trying To Get To You

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bootleg Friday: Lou Reed, 1978

I spent much of yesterday in downtown Manhattan, walking from meeting to meeting, reveling in New York City on a mild winter day, and then, of course, thinking about Lou Reed. More than any other rock performer, Lou Reed is New York, embodying its intelligence, sardonic wit and restless spirit. His unflinching eye, depicting the New York demimonde in all of its alluring and occasionally dangerous darkness, took rock to places it had not gone before. But what most people don’t realize is that there’s a deep thread of compassion running through the best of Reed’s work (“Busload of Faith,” “Perfect Day,” “What’s Good,” “Walk On The Wild Side,” “Jesus”), and it’s what makes his great work soulful. Reed may seem to epitomize the jaded New Yorker, but his cool (and cynicism) should never be confused with jadedness; he’s way too romantic for that (even if he'd tell you differently).

Reed, of course, is best known for the seminal work of the Velvet Underground. And while they may be the band that truly gave birth to alternative music and earned their avant-garde bonifides through their association with people like Andy Warhol and the poet Delmore Schwartz (who Reed studied with when he went to Syracuse), in my estimation, what ensured Reed of a long and illustrious career has been his love of appreciation of the great early rock and r&b artists from the 50’s and 60’s like Carl Perkins and Dion (who Reed called “Bronx Soul” when he inducted him into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame).

I was lucky enough to see Reed play a very up close and personal set about 15 years ago. I was friends with the owner of Reed’s rehearsal space in Chelsea and he invited me to his Christmas party, telling me to stay late, because there’d be a “special guest.” Sure enough, at around midnight, Lou and his band went into one of the rehearsal rooms, plugged in and played a 40 minute set for about 30 of us. They opened with an extra long version of “Rock & Roll” similar to the one on Rock N Roll Animal, with a brilliant opening guitar solo by Reed and played a blistering set. My friends and I just sort of stared at each other, slack-jawed, not quite believing what we were seeing. I may be a Jew, but it had never felt more like Christmas.

Today’s episode of Bootleg Friday is Lou Reed at Park West in Chicago recorded in April of 1978. There’s a distinct element of funk and soul in this show; his rhythm section played much more syncopated than his usual on the beat style, and with a trio of black female background singers, the nod to soul is unmistakable. Enjoy.

Buy Lou Reed at Amazon MP3 store

Download: Lou Reed “Gimme Some Good Times” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed “Satellite Of Love” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed “Leave Me Alone” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed "Walk On The Wild Side" 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed “Coney Island Baby” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed “Sweet Jane” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL
Download: Lou Reed “Rock And Roll” 4/14/78, Chicago, IL


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?

Anonymous said...

Samantha Fox in Athens! Next Saturday,
DJ Kostas

Anonymous said...

Please my friend, can you upload the version of "street hassle", the one that is missing? thanx a lot!!!