Droppin' Some NYC
Lou Reed - Luna
Rosemont Theatre - Rosemont, IL
March 24, 1996
First Appeared in The Music Box, March/April 1996, Volume 3, #2
Written by John Metzger
Lou Reed recently passed through the Chicago area, bringing his stories of life on the streets of New York City with him. On tour for what is his best album in years, Reed was much more playful as he intermixed his songs of drug addiction, homelessness, and other casualties of bad politics with more upbeat songs from his latest release Set the Twilight Reeling.
Don't get me wrong, it's still Lou doing what he does best which is to take tongue-in-cheek shots at politicians like Bob Dole in Sex with Your Parents. He can still paint a pretty bleak picture of the downtrodden, and while Heroin went unplayed, Reed captured the feel of New York City with a deadpan rendition of Dirty Boulevard.
Reed kicked into gear during Waiting for the Man, the second of two nods to his days as leader of The Velvet Underground. (He had opened the show with Sweet Jane). Reed and guitarist Mike Rathke swapped feedback-laden guitar riffs, which bassist Fernando Saunders and drummer Tony Smith built upon to take the song to a feverish pitch before the group landed smack in the middle of Vicious. Very sweet, indeed! Reed allowed the audience to catch its collective breath with an emotional rendition of Set the Twilight Reeling.
Things didn't stay mellow for long as Reed then led the band through a lengthy Doin' the Things that We Want To which allowed plenty of room for the band to noodle around with the melody. Throughout the 19-song show, Reed sprinkled 8 songs from his latest release, from the bounding bass of NYC Man to the dessert-laden Egg Cream. Hooky Wooky was the first of four encores and was quite loose and carefree as again the band thoroughly covered all the bases.
Walk on the Wild Side was shorter and paled in comparison to the version Reed performed last time around on his Magic and Loss tour. Still, as has been done for years, it contained the rhythm and feel of the Grateful Dead's Franklin's Tower. The show concluded with a beautiful version of Satellite of Love.
Fellow New Yorkers Luna provided the perfect opening for this show. The group's set began with a cover version of Donovan's Season of the Witch, done Velvet Underground-style. This group grew from the ashes of The Feelies, and like its predecessor the band knows how to concoct catchy tunes from swirling feedback and riveting guitar licks.
Set the Twilight Reeling is available from Barnes & Noble.
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Copyright © 1996 The Music Box