Lou Reed Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse(Matador) Buy it from Insound
The legend of how 1973’s Berlin derailed Lou Reed’s solo career is a familiar one. Following up the success of Transformer with an album whose mood and tone were only a notch more optimistic than Nico’s The Marble Index, was either a deliberate FU to his burgeoning audience or just colossally bad timing. It’s worth considering the former, especially in the light of Metal Machine Music, the double album of pure feedback released two years later, but I think this new live album proves it was the latter. I think Lou feels his most ambitious concept album was wrongly overlooked by both the public and the critics of the time. He’s absolutely right, and the album’s reputation has recently been salvaged by long time admirers in the press, slapping on the “lost classic” moniker for good measure. For my part, I admire commitment to an idea, and Lou goes all in on this album, steeping himself so deeply in the romantically decadent vision of the city many artists had at the time that its sense of opulent doom is palpable. Lou must know he got to a place few artists ever find themselves and to see the whole thing unjustly ignored must have really stuck in his craw.