[su_dropcap]A[/su_dropcap]s fate would have it, I never was that big of a Lou Reed fan. Oh, he was okay when he was at his most rockin’, but never an authentic, proto-driver of my rock and roll bus. Yet, I saw him twice, and both times from fairly good seats. My first live Lou Reed fell to the Warner Theatre in downtown Washington with my wing girls, Sue Hedrick and Jennifer Hoke, during the 1989 album tour for New York. It was a great packed house show. No need to liquify. No smoking allowed, it was the perfect venue. These new songs played well. Lou was his laid back self, but he delivered what he’d promised on the CD.Of course, Reed’s only breakout hitWalk on the Wild Sidewas a personal favorite for me when it hit the Jacksonville FL radio stations my senior year in highschool. But I never rushed out to get a Lou Reed album until I think it was Jennifer whose enthusiastic announcement that Lou Reed was coming to town in January, 1989 on what I suppose now was the first leg of his tour for the new album, that got me interested in laying out cash for New York. To my surprise the album contained at least three instant classics or me: Good Evening Mr. Waldheim in which Reed whacks Jesse Jackson down a few pegs for Jesse’s own civil rights confusion. The song is delivering in a strong unbroken rock rhythm, a damn good anthemic song.
Secondly, in Strawman, Reed takes on the economic disparity of the peoples, and castigates certain very wealthy stars and celebrities and nations who flash money about on useless vanity projects, calling out many by name, and others only by reference to their deeds. A powerful and sorrowful song, delivered with the voice of a man tired of what he knows to be true and so long unsaid.
The third instant classicThere Is No Timeis simply one of the best rock anthems in our RSN collection. Here we have Reed, taking us to his place of observation, intensifying his efforts to get people to snap out of the frivolity of whatever it is we think we are and that which makes it so. This song deserves ears, not eyes.
My second Lou Reed show was held in Wolftrap’s airy amphitheatre venue sometime in the early years of the new century. For some reason, I can’t quite pin down the exact year in my memory. I was the guest of Jamie Holiday and pals. We had center row seating for a sober, genteel enjoyment of the man, his music and his muse. But don’t misunderstand. This was a knockout show. Reed had a guest violinist, his queen that night, accompanying him throughout. Again, Reed was outstanding while deliberate, void of any frolic or foolishness. I left that show thoroughly impressed with Mister Lou Reed and his mark on his generation. He will be missed.