Ghost Stories (Apocalypse Sound 150)
Paris, France, Olympia Music Hall, May 25, 1974 Afternoon Show: 1. Sweet Jane 2. I’m Waiting for My Man 3. Lady Day 4. Sally Can’t Dance 5. Ride Sally Ride
Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico: Paris, France, Le Bataclan, 50 Boulevard Voltaire, January 29, 1972
1. Introduction 2. Berlin 3. I’m Waiting for My Man 4. Heroin 5. Ghost Story 6. Femme Fatale
Barcelona, Spain, Palacio Municipal de Deportes, December 10, 1984: 1. Down at the Arcade 2. Legendary Hearts 3. Turn out the Lights 4. There She Goes Again 5. Sally Can’t Dance 6. Walk on the Wild Side 7. Street Hassle 8. Satellite of Love 9. New Sensations 10. Doing the Things that We Want to Do 11. Turn to Me 12. Coney Island Baby 13. Waves of Fear 14. Rock and Roll
Lou Reed, the statesman of rock, rips up the stage with his contained personality in Ghost Stories. Live recordings from the 70’s and 80’s give a more in-depth view of the power and simplicity of Reed’s music, rather than dwelling on controversies and personal life.
Guitarist and song-writer for The Velvet Underground in the late 1960’s, Reed quickly ascended to godlike status with a stream of almost yearly albums from the 70’s to present times. He is known to be a difficult character, refusing his role as one of the most influential rock artists of all time on many occasions, particularly as the creator of punk rock. He has performed and recorded with many famous musicians like David Bowie, Ornette Coleman and The Who.
Ghost Stories starts off in Paris at the Olympia Music Hall in 1974, during his Glam Rock period, where he was compared alongside other rock figures like Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. At the time, plagued by drug abuse, the somewhat monotonic singing of classics like Sally Can’t Dance brings waves of nostalgia and the recognition of the importance of his music for all genres.
Reed has controversial lyrics with extremely mature themes. Perhaps his greatest hit Walk on the Wild Side is about transvestites in Andy Warhol’s factory, drug addiction in How do you think it feels, adultery and prostitution in The Kids, and the self explanatory Heroin. The next live concert with John Cale and Nico in 1972 has a few interviews (in French) and kicks off with Berlin, a song that tells the tale of two addicts in love.
Finally, in Barcelona 1984, I get a peek into a later, perhaps more mature side of Reed’s music, with a complete lineup of classics like Coney Island Baby and Legendary Hearts. This time he sings masterfully, but maybe less authentically. Sometimes I get the feeling there is a touch of irony in his lyrics, posture and singing style.
Lou Reed is undoubtedly one of the true fathers of rock and roll, with his truly original mix of blues and ballads. I definitely recommend the DVD to those who aren’t already familiar with his music, for it gives a good scope of his work. For the fans and aficionados, it’s a great addition to any collection, and may provide an interesting view of his live performances without adding any rarities or lost tracks. Pedagogical.