Lou Reed- Berlin: Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse (Album Review)
The release of an audio version of Lou Reed’s 2006 reappraisal of Berlin, which was staged at St. Ann’s in collaboration with Julian Schnabel as a film documentary, might seem like an odd move unless you’ve seen the painfully dull results – Schnabel desperately trying to inject some excitement into the performance with quick cuts and arty camera angles.
I’d say Reed’s Berlin rerun is better off without the ghastly visuals but not at all an improvement on the original version.
Back in 1973, Reed seemed to totally give himself over to the emotional brutality of the material, whereas by 2006 he was a few lives removed from the characters he’s portraying. Even though he’s become a much more expressive musician, the updated Berlin is no more powerful or gripping than the original commercial flop. It is, however, much more consumer-friendly, especially the sweet encore duet with Antony on Candy Says tacked on at the end.