First the bad stuff. Director Julian Schnabel's attempt, in his onstage intro, to ingratiate himself with Lou's yiddishe mama is as creepy as its inclusion in this film is self-indulgent. Nobody cares, Schnabel - get over yourself and get on with it! His idea of creating visual atmosphere is also a little iffy: cameras go in and out of focus and sway around too much, with the edit all-too-often missing the person who is actually playing at that point.
Lou Reed's voice is also noticeably weaker than it used to be in his heyday, and his always-idiosyncratic phrasing is occasionally self-defeatingly eccentric to the point where you think he has forgotten the words.
All that said, this is a fantastic concert, a really warm, vivid realisation of these extraordinary songs. Reed's electric guitar playing is surprisingly fired-up, and the control he visibly wields over this exemplary group of musicians is very impressive - sensitive to his and Bob Ezrin's wonderful arrangements while also allowing them the freedom to really cut loose at times. The result is a performance that throbs with passion and commitment, with the empathetic conviction of Lou's delivery (despite the vocal issues mentioned above) making the emotions behind these heartbreaking, defiant, compassionate, angry and tragic songs come to life in a way that reaffirms your faith in the power of music.
The encore version of 'Candy Says' has been widely praised, but it might be worth noting that Antony Hegarty's vocal style is a marmite affair, and certainly won't be to everyone's taste. Some will be incredibly moved by his tremulously emotional delivery, while others won't be able to listen to that mannered warble with a straight face. Oh yes, and the DTS HD sound mix is superb.