Lou Reed's Berlin | The Auditorium, Rome | 6 July 2007

It's taken me a few days to be able to psyche myself up to writing a few words about Lou Reed's performance on Friday night in the Santa Cecilia concert hall at the Auditorium in Rome. Much has been said and written about this long over due presentation of the 1973 album Berlin which was panned by critics at the time but is now being performed throughout Europe and pretty much stunning audiences everywhere.
So... does it live up to the hype? Well, yes it does - Lou Reed and his band (which included the New London Children's Choir and members of the London Metropolitan Orchestra) gave what was very nearly a perfect performance of an incredibly harrowing album, played right through from bleak beginning to very unhappy ending against the back drop of Julian Schnabel's set designs and his daughter Lola Schnabel's filmed images that echo the story of Jim & Caroline in the songs whilst never intruding.
Stand out moments were Men of Good Fortune; Caroline Says II; the extremely upsetting The Kids with Lou Reed more speaking than singing the line They're taking her children away, complete with its crescendo of children's cries of Mommy; the haunting suicide song The Bed; and the hypnotic finale Sad Song. The audience reaction was ecstatic and the stomps and cheers were rewarded by stunning encore performances of Sweet Jane, Satellite of Love and Walk on the Wild Side. Am hoping for a live album of this event...