Monday, May 14, 2012

Lou Reed 24: Perfect Night

It’s safe to say that the ‘90s were going pretty well for Lou Reed, coming off a series of well-received albums. His appearance at 1997’s Meltdown Festival in London, backed by his stalwart combo of Mike Rathke on the other guitar, Fernando Saunders on bass and Tony “Thunder” Smith on drums, was recorded and released the following year as Perfect Night: Live In London. (Of course, it helped that that year’s event was curated by Laurie Anderson, Lou’s significant other.)
The set is fairly low-key, traveling through Lou’s entire catalog, starting with “I’ll Be Your Mirror”. “Perfect Day” follows, having recently been featured in Trainspotting. “The Kids” is played straight, with a little extra emotion on the choruses, but no screaming children. “Vicious” is very low-key, hanging mostly on one chord a la “Kicks” (which follows directly from “Busload Of Faith”, which comes next). “Riptide” is given a much calmer setting than its album version, while “Sex With Your Parents” is just as effective, particularly after a surprising top-speed delivery of “The Original Wrapper”. Three songs from Time Rocker, a little-seen collaboration with playwright Robert Wilson, make their debut here. “Talking Book” is pensive and wistful; “Into The Divine” is a little heavier love song of sorts, on two chords; “Why Do You Talk” is stark and accusatory.
As usual, the publicity for the album centered on his latest “perfect” guitar sound, in this case an acoustic that didn’t feed back. Perfect Night doesn’t have the ferocity of Rock ‘N Roll Animal or the comedy of Take No Prisoners, so for that reason it’s a nice alternative. But it still rocks.

Lou Reed Perfect Night: Live In London (1998)—3

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