Ride Paris Ride (Godfather Records GR 360)
Olympia Music Hal, Paris France – May 25, 1974
Intro; Sweet Jane; Vicious; Ride Sally Ride; Heroin; Sally Can’t Dance; Lady Day; I’m Waiting for A Man; Oh Jim; Walk On The Wild Side; White Light White Heat; New York Telephone Conversation; Goodnight Ladies; Rock N Roll
The May 74 Paris show on this Godfathers release features almost the same band of seasoned studio musicians, led by guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who played on the classic official live cd “Rock N Roll Animals” which was recorded the previous December 1973 at the Academy of Music in NYC.
While the band is essentially the same the performances could not be more different. While the December show is very raw and aggressive, this show is much more relaxed and sedate. The band is extremely tight on this night, and gives a very professional performance, but the white hot energy of the Academy show is missing leaving the performance a little flat in spots for me.
The show starts with the usual intro to Sweet Jane which, for this performance, has a funk infused jazz type feel compared to the now epic classic rock twin guitar intro from the RnR Animal recording. This sets the tone for the rest of the show with laid back versions of “Sweet Jane” and “Vicious”. The band starts to pick up some energy with a nice version of “Ride Sally Ride” from the yet to be released “Sally Can’t Dance” album. Other highlights for me included great versions of the classic songs “Heroin” and “Walk on the Wild Side”. The show concludes with a jazzy version of “Rock n Roll”.
The recording used on this release is an excellent warm crystal clear soundboard with a mastering style which reminds me of several other Godfather recordings I have.
The soundstage is very open and three dimensional with excellent separation to all the instruments. Lou’s voice and the keyboards are upfront with the guitar and drums tending to be in the foreground.
Godfather’s mastering technique does a wonderful job of opening up a recording but I have found this tends to steal some of the power from the instruments so it makes me wonder if this is the reason for some of the flatness in the performance I noticed?
All in all this is a wonderful recording of a very good performance from Lou and this excellent band. Fans of Lou Reed will love this release and this recording is highly recommended to all fans with even a passing interest in Lou Reed from this era as long as you don’t expect another RNR Animal.