Lou Reed – La Edad de Oro (Pignon-095)

La Edad de Oro (Pignon-095)

Kurt Loder wrote in Rolling Stone magazine, in reviewing Lou Reed’s 1984 LP New Sensations, that during the first thirteen years after the break up of the Velvet Underground Reed “stumbled through one of the most self-indulgent and self-defeating solo careers in the annals of rock.”  But the new album is “the most consistently winning rock & roll album Reed has had a hand in since Loaded, the Velvets’ brilliant 1970 studio farewell.”

Reed’s song writing became more confident and, by a modest return to sixties rock and R&B, he hit an artistic peak.  La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age) on Pignon presents three video documents over an eight year period, from 1984 to 1992.  The disc is in NTSC and region free for all DVD players.  Since each of the three come from professional sources (two from out of print LD), they are in excellent video and audio quality.  

Palacio Municaipal De Deportes, Barcelona, Spain – December 10th, 1984:  Intro., announcement, Down At The Arcade, Legendary Hearts, Turn Out The Light, There She Goes Again, Sally Can’t Dance, Walk On The Wild Side, Street Hassle, Satellite Of Love, New Sensations, Doing Things That We Want To, Turn To Me, Coney Island Baby, Waves Of Fear, band introduction, Rock And Roll, interview.

The Barcelona show was taped off of TVE Spanish television.  It previously appeared on Ghost Stories (Apocalypse Sound 150) in the same quality.  Coming six months after the release of New Sensations, the telecast captured most of the show.  Omitted are “Sweet Jane,” “I’m Waiting For The Man,” “Martial Law,” “My Red Joystick,” “I Love You Suzanne” and “White Light/White Heat.” 

According to Miguel, who reviewed the Godfather release, we 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 / John Cale, “Songs For Drella 1990”:  Smalltown, Open House, Style It Takes, Work, Trouble With Classicists, Starlight, Faces And Names, Images, Slip Away, It Wasn’t Me, I Believe, Nobody But You, A Dream, Forever Changed, Hello It’s Me

Six years after the Barcelona concert, and three years after the untimely death of artist Andy Warhol, Lou Reed teamed with John Cale for the first time since the Velvet Underground, twenty years before.  They composed and performed a song cycle called “Songs For Drella” (a nickname for Warhol).

A selection of the piece was performed on January 9, 1989 at The Church of St. Anne’s in Brooklyn. The first full version was played on November 29–30, and December 2–3 at the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. On the last date they were joined onstage by Maureen Tucker for the encore of “Pale Blue Eyes.”

A live performance without an audience was filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on December 6, 1989 and released on VHS and laserdisc in 1990 by Sire Records (Songs For Drella, Warner Reprise Video, 7599 38168-3, VHS, 55 minutes, 1990).  It has never been released on DVD, so this fills a big void.  

Pinewood Studios, London, England – March 18th, 1992:  Intro., Dorita – The Spirit, What’s Good – The Thesis, Power and Glory – The Situation, Magician – Internally, Sword of Damocles – Externally, Goodby Mass – In a Chapel Bodily Termination, Cremation – Ashes to Ashes, Dreamin’ – Escape, No Chance – Regret, Warrior King – Revenge, Harry’s Circumcision – Reverie Gone Astray, Gassed and Stoked – Loss,  Power and Glory Part II – Magic – Transformation, Magic and Loss – The Summation, A Dream, Dirty Blvd., Sweet Jane, I’m Waiting For The Man, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Satellite Of Love, Walk On The Wild Side

The final part is a live performance of the 1992 release Magic And Loss, filmed on March 18, 1992 at Pinewood studios in London was released on VHS and LD.  Magic and Loss is a concept album inspired in part by the illnesses and eventual deaths of two close friends: songwriter Doc Pomus, who gave Reed his start in the music business some 25 years earlier, and “Rita.”

The official release, Magic And Loss – Live In Concert (Warner Music Vision, 7599 38313-3, VHS, 90 minutes released on  August 10th 1992) is currently out of print.

The ninety minute video contains the entire concert.  The new work, Magic And Loss, occupies the first half.  It’s stately, surreal and profound with Reed reading the lyrics off of a sheet on a music stand.

Reed play the older hits including Velvet Underground classics such as “Sweet Jane” and “I’m Waiting For The Man” and solo hits “Satellite Of Love” and “Walk On The Wild Side” in the second half.  This part of the show is as fun and entertaining as the first half is somber and reflective.

La Edad de Oro is packaged in a DVD digipack with relevant photographs from the era and a setlist printed on the back.  This is an important release for Lou Reed and Velvet Underground collectors because it presses onto DVD several rare and hard to find videos that should be more easily available.

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