Audio Violence ’89 (The Legendary Boston Broadcast)
Lou Reed found his mojo again – big time! – with his gritty, sublime New York album (a novel or movie in the form of a record). We’ll soon get to hear the expanded edition, b-sides, extras – and at the time of release there was a wonderful VHS copy of a concert where Reed and band performed the album in its entirety – it was never officially released on DVD but you can find the whole gig on YouTube (It’s amazing!)
So, in the build-up to the waves of re-appreciation here’s a fantastic radio broadcast bootleg from the time.
Reed’s band that he took on the road in support of the record was, to my mind, his very best. Mike Rathke moving in and around Reed’s guitar lines with his own rhythm and lead, Rob Wasserman’s deep walking bass lines and Bob Medici as one of his most empathic, distinctive and supportive drummers (also adding strong backing vocals). Reed was on fire, he knew the work was good and the band helped him to honour this belief.
Audio Violence ’89 – named after the song Video Violence from 1986’s unfairly maligned Mistrial record (which is represented in this set by both Video Violence and The Original Wrapper) – starts with five songs from New York. Scattering the order somewhat but basically presenting the highlights from the first half of the album.
It’s somewhat jarring to hear I Love You, Suzanne live – but it sets up an interesting dig through some of the pre-New York feet-finding mid-80s songs (Doin’ The Things That We Want To is far more successful, as are the aforementioned Mistrial tracks). Reed had duetted with Wasserman on the standard One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) for one of Wasserman’s solo record (actually called Duets) and it’s nice to have a version of that here; Reed sounding quite jovial in his banter. He was enthused by this new work, this band and the responses to both.
The obligatory Rock & Roll, Sweet Jane and Walk On The Wild Side are there as the ‘hits’. Wild Side has never really worked live, so reliant on the feel of the studio recording’s double set of bass-lines and indeed the production and arrangement of the song (not least of all the backing vocals) but here it sounds about as vital in the live arena as it ever did.
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