Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Spoken Lou

There is a review of Lou Reed's spoken-word performance in the Herald. Here's some of it:

Low-slung over a lectern in this 250-seat university hall, Reed appeared positively professorial as he announced his intention to read extracts from his 21st century reworkings of Edgar Allan Poe.

Reed has always had aspirations to be a poetic polymath, ever since his early low-life vignettes forged with The Velvet Underground, and the educational air ran on apace when he deadpanned later that "Burns is a great Scottish writer, so I thought it would be good for you to hear a great American one".

A pair of sleazy Socratic dialogues were delivered bitchily enough to recall William Burroughs, while on Changes and Who Am I, stripped of the album's arrangements and left with only his voice, such is Reed's empathy with the words it was as if he was coming to terms with his own mortality.

Finally, after an hour exactly, Reed closed with the nearest thing we're likely to get to a greatest hits set. His deep voice made the prettified neuroses of Candy Says sound even more heartbreaking than when he first sang it with The Velvets more than 35 years ago.
I've always thought that he was one of the great poetic polymaths of rock'n'roll.

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