July 17, 2008

Something Else #13: Lou Reed

We are driving down to New York City this weekend for a wedding. Shortly after Laura and I met in 1985, she began working as a nanny, the first of many non-traditional jobs we have taken in order to concentrate on our writing careers. Matt was 4½ back then ... he's now 27 and getting married!

In 1989 -- my third year in Brooklyn -- Lou Reed released New York, an album of 14 songs packed with poetry, rage, sadness, bile, and humor. Scattered through the lyrics are names and places familiar to anyone who lived in New York in the late '80s: Eleanor Bumpers, Michael Stewart, Tompkins Square, Jesse Jackson, Morton Downey, Rudy Guiliani, Howard Beach.

On tour that year, Reed generally played the album from start to finish.
Caught between the twisted stars
The plotted lines
The faulty map
That brought Columbus to New York
Betwixt between the East and West
He calls on her wearing a leather vest
The earth squeals and shudders to a halt ...

I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag
With Latin written on it that says
"It's hard to give a shit these days"
Manhattan's sinking like a rock, into the filthy Hudson
What a shock
They wrote a book about it, they said it was like ancient Rome ...

7 comments:

redsock said...

Lou Reed - Palatrussardi, Milano, Italy
June 28, 1989
(Part 1 and Part 2)
Recorded, transfered, & uploaded by 38f; great audience recording

Romeo Had Juliette / Halloween Parade / Dirty Blvd. / Endless Cycle / There Is No Time / Last Great American Whale / Beginning Of A Great Adventure / Busload Of Faith / Xmas In February / Strawman / Dime Store Mystery / I Love You Suzanne / One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) / Doin' The Things That We Want To / Rock And Roll / Video Violence / The Original Wrapper / Sweet Jane / Walk On The Wild Side / Vicious / Satellite Of Love

Despite the description from the taper, Lou did not play the complete New York album that night. Three songs from Side 2 -- Sick Of You, Hold On, and Good Evening Mr. Waldheim -- which should have followed Busload Of Faith -- were not played.

nixon33 said...

ahhhhh........ mr. reed. cool as fuck, sharp like a knife.
do you like cale as much as reed?

L-girl said...

One of the first shows we saw together was Lou Reed at the old Ritz. Then some years later we saw him do the NY album.

I love Lou Reed.

Matt was 4½ back then ... he's now 27 and getting married!

In other news, I am old!

redsock said...

One of the first shows we saw together was Lou Reed at the old Ritz.

I'm pretty sure it was January 10, 1987 -- exactly one week after I had moved.

It should be a rule that you see a Lou Reed concert within the first week of arriving in the city.

L-girl said...

It should be a rule that you see a Lou Reed concert within the first week of arriving in the city.

I concur.

James said...

Transformer is pretty stellar, as well. And all four of the VU albums are perfect. Well, maybe just the first three. White Light/White Heat has to be a contender for best album ever made.

Hell, I've got a soft spot for Metal Machine Music. I think it's pretty interesting, even if it is deliberately malicious. It ends with a lock groove.

Zenslinger said...

As a teenager, I knew nothing about Lou Reed. But when I did see him, he was always wearing sunglasses (Live Aid, etc.) I began to suspect he was blind, like Stevie Wonder. I glanced at the TV around the time this album came out to see him without his shades. His pale face and deep eyesockets looked so vulnerable without them, and he was kind of staring off while he answered a question, that I thought my suspicion was true.