Still Speechless.

January 22, 2007 at 2:59 am (Uncategorized)

It was very nice.
Oh, honey it was paradise.
(Berlin, by Lou Reed)

How to explain my euphoria? Well, it’s across several levels, and it’s lasted for days. The first thing is that I have never been so close to one of my creative heroes. It would be like Llew sitting in the same room as Brett Whiteley. Rib crushing in its excitement. Lou Reed’s songs – his poems – have been dear to me for more than half my life. I have pored over the words, held them close to me like a lover, and lingered over their tiniest details and cadence. I have envied him his talent, and invoked his words like prayer. I was shaking in the State Theatre, I was so electrified to be there hearing that so familiar voice, seeing that oddly familiar figure on stage. At times during the performance, my eyes flooded with sudden tears that surprised me as much as they surprised Llew. It was like listening to the sound of my own heart breaking.

The State Theatre is a wonderful space, ideal for the aural torment of Berlin. It’s so intimate, somehow, that it feels like you’re an intruder, a voyeur, and it was perfect for this performance because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you listen to this album of Lou Reed’s. Watching. Witnessing with your ears.

And the Sydney Morning Herald reviewer on Friday, John Shand, didn’t mention this, but the atmosphere was intoxicating. We were all there worshipping at the temple, sure, but it was so emotional even Lou Reed was audibly choked up by the end of the rousing and sustained standing ovation. John Shand’s review was very careful to express how familiar John Shand is with the album, and good on John Shand for being such a diligent study, but he omitted one very important detail. Everyone absolutely loved it. Ate it up and then licked their fingers. And I don’t know that any performance of anything, anywhere, has ever made me feel the way I felt watching Lou Reed perform Berlin .


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