Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lou Reed - Electric Factory - Philadelphia PA - April 19, 2008

Through one of those simple twists of fate, I was heading to Philly for the weekend and found out Lou Reed was playing at the Electric Factory. Now, I'm a huge fan of Lou for many years and haven't seen him in concert since 1986, I think, so of course I had to go. We arrived early and headed to a local diner for something to eat; when we returned, the line was across the front of the building and down the block; it was general admission, so we thought we'd be back a ways when we got in, but we got right to the front (first row in front of the stage! It seems Lou's aging audience prefers seats to proximity these days - poor bastards).

Around 8:40 PM Lou takes the stage, greeting us with "Hello, Cleveland," which got a laugh. The band started with "Mad," from the Ecstasy album. Throughout the song, Lou was the conductor, telling the bass player to bring it up, the lead guitar to bring it down -- it was nice to watch a veteran rocker (as Rolling Stone dubbed him so many years ago) fine-tuning his show. A surprise was the great Steve Hunter (who played on Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies, Welcome to my Nightmare, and The Alice Cooper Show) on lead guitar. He and Lou played off each other all evening, and it was truly a joy to hear.

Next up was the Velvet Underground classic "Sweet Jane." And it rocked.

Lou introduced the next song by saying it was about divorce, "something most of you won't have to deal with" (note: most quotes are paraphrased, as my memory's not what it once was). He then launched into "Baton Rouge," haunting with its refrain "so helpless."

He said the next song was from the movie Juno, and launched into "I'm Set Free." Later he corrects himself about the Juno reference.

"Ecstasy" followed, with Lou drumming his chest to get started. It was evident that this was a song he enjoyed playing.

Following came his explanation that he got it wrong, and this song was from Juno; the keyboard player began singing "I'm Sticking With You."

A few songs later, Lou introduced Laurie Anderson on electric violin, and began playing "Talking Book." About halfway through the song, he got a little miffed with the audience, who were talking a bit too much for his taste (and mine too, especially the drunk women next to me), and he asked the audience "Do you want to keep talking or do you want me to finish this song?" He finished it, though he and Laurie seemed to share a disappointed look at the end. Perhaps they wanted to do more with the song, but the audience wanted to move on...

Next up were "Halloween Parade," from New York, followed by a song introduced with "This is a song you probably don't know," then launching into "Video Violence" from the 1986 album Mistrial. And yes, Lou, I knew the song, anyway.

After "Guardian Angel," the closing song was "Magic and Loss," which was a treat. I've always loved the line "there's a little magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." For an encore, we got "Perfect Day," and it was.

Full set list (as listed on the Lou Reed forum here; the comment from moderndance is me, btw):
  • Mad
  • Sweet Jane
  • Baton Rouge
  • I'm Set Free
  • Ecstasy
  • I'm Sticking With You
  • Power of the Heart (is this new? anyone know?)
  • I Wanna Know (The Pit and the Pendulum)
  • Talking Book
  • Halloween Parade
  • Video Violence
  • Guardian Angel
  • Magic and Loss
  • Perfect Day
And will someone please explain to me what the guy playing, as Lou put it, "electronics, the computer, and who knows what else" was doing with the Apple MacBook? Was he using Garage Band or something?


CRoch said...

Hi Daryl:

I was on the other side of you and could not believe that she would scream during Talking Book. Good for Lou for calling out the juvenile behavior but it didn't stop her. But it was a great night and the five 16 year olds I brought loved him!

sexy blue heaven said...

nice summary and thanks for the setlist. i missed the first song (was getting pat down outside).
i made the mistake of setting camp up next to the bar where most of the talking was coming from.
i've done the efactory enough to have known better but the floor was packed already. very rude and how could you be so during lou and laurie's beautiful song?! undeserving we were, especially in that environment.
who the hell requested Venus in Furs? i loved his dismissal of that: a laugh and rhetorical question "i didn't write that, did i?"

i took some pix of the show (see my flickr pix, user elziard)