Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lou Reed's Berlin |
Actors: Lou Reed, Emmanuelle Seigner, Fernando Saunders, Antony, Sharon Jones
Directors: Julian Schnabel, Alejandro Garmendia
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
How do you adapt a record once described as "the most depressing album of all time" into a multi-media stage performance? Rather well, when it comes to Lou Reed?s Berlin. The former Velvet Underground mainstay was already ... more »
WARHOLS DREAM HAS COME TRUE....BERLIN LIVE!!!
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 10/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Lou's career was saved by Bowie IN 1972 with Lou's LP "Transformer", Lou went against expectation, creating his version of conceptual ARTROCK. BERLIN discribes the lives of two lovers, Jim and Caroline, her a singer, speed addict and mother, he a "waterboy". Berlin's reception in 1973 was cool, tho since that time, it has been critically reevaluated, and is now seen as his best, or second best solo LP. I love the heavy orchestration that has seldom been used before or since with Lou's work, and love the intensity of the relationship's tragedy at Berlin's core. Andy Warhol also loved the LP, and when it came out, he tried to get ahold of Lou, in order to mount a "cabaret" version of the LP. Sadly, Andy never connected with Lou, until Lou had morphed into his "ROCK AND ROLL ANIMAL" phase, shooting heroin, bleaching hair, etc. It took Lou only 35 years, to mount his cabaret version of BERLIN, but it was worth the wait. Lou's recent work has been sort of hit and miss, and I didnt expect this DVD to sound like the original album. Nevertheless, ALL the orchestration is intact from the album, and played note for note. Not only that, BERLIN adapts perfectly to the visual medium. Behind Lou, is a projection machine shows us, like the photographs in the BERLIN LP, a cinematic view of the lyrical storyline. Everything combines to bring forth an amazing show, that had me singing along for most of the album. Highlights, like "Caroline Says I", "Men of Good Fortune" and "Oh Jim" brought me goosebumps. When Jim beats Caroline up for shooting speed, and cheating on him, the guitar solo perfectly reflects the fight that destroyed the lover's relationship for the whole album. Its the dramatic summit of the piece. Backed up with the entire "rock orchestra" building on a riff, Lou attempts his Cecil Taylor-influenced guitar soloing, and pulls it off. BERLIN was amazing when it came out, its amazing now. All i can say to recommend this is, "IF" you are a fan of this album, then you wont be disappointed by the DVD, I can guarentee it. The only problem I had at all, was that Lou tried to speak/sing the parts, instead of singing the actual melodic vocal lines, as written in 1973. Since the production is very dense on the original BERLIN album, the vocal lines were often doubled by violin parts, or by the backing singers' harmonies. So, it's sort of sad not having Lou willing (or able?) to sing the original vocal parts. After the BERLIN album is performed, Lou and his basic rock band break into SWEET JANE. Then, CANDY SAYS begins, with ANTONY from ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS singing the song to heartbreaking perfection. The album BERLIN is so visual, so cinematic, that to watch it performed like this, reinforces and elucidates the literary concept so well. For Lou/VU fans that never saw Lou play live, or never got a chance to see BERLIN live when Lou toured it, this DVD is a great consilation prise. I only wish that, like the "A NIGHT WITH LOU REED" video from 1983, the camera could have turned to the audience, to show Andy Warhol enjoying the realization of his dream for the BERLIN concept album, all these years later. Bravo, Lou."
Lou at his most lyrical and introspective
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 10/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1973 album, Berlin, is a dark operatic song-cycle about speed junkies Caroline and Jim. Both of them work the streets but when it is determined that Caroline is an unfit mother and her kids are taken away by social services the story gets even darker and Caroline and Jim's lives take separate but equally horrific turns for the worse. Taken individually songs like "Men of Good Fortune" and "How do you think it Feels" are very good but not quite equal to Lou's greatest. But together these songs build upon each other and combine to create one of the most viscerally wrenching experiences in modern music. Admittedly, much of this sounds like it was written on cocktail napkins during a very dark, albeit painfully lucid, night of the soul. But the result is the most sublime music of Lou's career.
Though Lou always tells his stories through his character's eyes, this feels like confessional music written by an artist who is intimately acquainted with what life feels like in the dark aftermath of vanished love and vanished hope with nothing but the alchemy of his fevered brain to work with. And he produces not just a series of darkly beautiful and hauntingly introspective songs but a magnificently structured rock libretto replete with crashing rock chords, quiet cello and flute interludes, and a soul-replenishing choir. Its as if the artist had confronted oblivion itself, wrestled with it, and come up from the lower depths (or the Hell's Kitchen of the soul) with this magisterial orchestration with which to enchant himself back into life. And then he caps it all off with the most achingly beautiful rendition of "Candy Says" (sharing vocals with the fragile and tender voiced Antony) that I've ever heard. And thankfully so because even though the song is equally nihilistic in its vision of self-escape ("What do you think I'd see if I could walk away from me") it is a much-needed deliverance into the familiar after the soul-tormented foreign tour that is Berlin. "Candy Says" is followed by the rarely performed "Rock Minuet" (another of Lou's epic visions of street struggle), and then Lou finishes the set with "Sweet Jane" to provide emotional catharsis and closure.
Julian Schnabel perfectly complements the fragmented narrative with a collage of disjointed visuals that underscore but never intrude upon or threaten the integrity of Lou's composition. Its a perfect marriage of audio and visual art (Schnabel wisely takes a minimalist low-tech scrapbook approach using wallpapered panels, slides, and, occasionally, super 8 footage to create layers of visuals to complement the layers of sound). Its such a seamless and pleasing blend that I would not be surprised if this concert/art event does not become the new paradigm for concert/art in the decades to come.
Its so intimate and so intense that you feel like you are a kid again listening and responding to an album you just bought. In fact I was not familiar with this record so that is precisely the feeling that I had with this piece of music.
I'll admit that I do not love everything that Lou has done, but this is music that stirs the creative self and the heart and intrigues the ear in endless ways! I can think of very few albums that succeed on so many levels (Lou goes places no other artist goes) and get you responding on so many levels. This is music made and performed by an artist with all cylinders (light and dark) firing; Lou holds nothing back here and so you too respond with everything that you've got.
How To Improve A Masterpiece
G. Ratcheson | Washington | 11/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw the DVD last night. Very short review: 5 stars out of 5. I can't think of ANY other rocker in their mid 60's interpreting their early material from 1973 with this sort of INTEGRITY, power, musicianship, musicality & emotion.
This is MILES beyond anything the Stones, Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, etc have done in the last 20 years.
The only artists I know who come CLOSE to making their early 70's material relevant like this in new performance are Bruce Cockburn & Bowie's 90's work with Reeves Gabrels, neither of whom pulled it off like Reed does here.
Doesn't hurt to have a CRACK band anchored by Steve Hunter & Rob Wasserman (the entire band is tremendous).
What both makes it so special & oddly also at the same time might be my only criticism is this is NOT a greatest hits show. The only song on Berlin that qualifies for ME as a "greatest hit" is Lady Day (though the feel of the song has nothing in common with Billie Holiday stylistically, this song catches her essence better then any book I've ever read!). Berlin has several other strong songs (Sad Songs, Caroline Says, Men Of Good Fortune; there are NO bad songs on it), but again; it's not a hits show. We do get Sweet Jane as an Encore.
There's just something about seeing Reed feel these songs about being a 31 year old love lorn junkie as much at 64 as he did at 31 that melts me.
Greatest Show on Earth
Marc Kruger | SOUTH OF DETROIT | 09/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I viewed a German import of this dvd and must say it is even more powerful than the lp that was released over 35 years ago. If anyone questions Lou's stature in the pantheon of rock and roll as an art form, this will convice them of his incredible importance in defining the genre as we now know it. This is a must see video!!!"