Thirty-five years ago today, we saw Lou Reed live. I think it was my third time, although I’m not sure. When I say “we” saw him, I can’t be certain who I’m talking about. Robin would be the likely choice … I know we saw Lou at the Old Waldorf at least once, probably in 1980 … but since Sara was only two months old on March 22, 1978. it’s doubtful that Robin was there.
It was the Street Hassle tour … yeah, it must have been my third time, since I saw him in ‘74 (Sally Can’t Dance tour) and ‘76 (Rock and Roll Heart tour). Street Hassle was a better album than the other two, and he had a solid band with him. Two months later he did the shows that were used for Live: Take No Prisoners. The band cooks on that album, although I can’t recommend it … it’s Lou’s comedy album, there are several very long tracks that consist largely of Reed talking while the band vamps behind him (“Walk on the Wild Side” takes 17 minutes).
He was more focused when we saw him, probably because we were on the opposite coast. (Take No Prisoners was recorded at the Bottom Line in New York, where stuff like “Can you imagine working for a fucking year, and you get a B+ from some asshole in The Village Voice?” perhaps made more sense. Or maybe not. Oh, and Xgau gave Take No Prisoners a C+.) Reed made good use of two female backup singers and a sax player. (And at one of the shows where we sat up front, Robin said at one point, “his hands look like my grandfathers!”)
Here are a couple of audio-only tracks from that concert:
“Satellite of Love”: http://youtu.be/kngH3xG5OeA
“Rock ‘n’ Roll”: http://youtu.be/cj9MuihvGLw
And finally, here’s a video I’ve always liked of “Street Hassle”, a song I’ve always loved:
The album doesn’t hold up all that well, but the title song still rules.
You know, some people got no choice
And they can never find a voice
To talk with that they can even call their own
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be
Why they follow it, you know, it's called bad luck.