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3.9 out of 5 stars
14
3.9 out of 5 stars
Lou Reed's Berlin
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£11.80+ £1.08 shipping


on 26 June 2017
One of my favourite albums. A true masterpiece.
Saw the live performance, Berlin, in Manchester.
Dire. Lou on a unenlightened ego trip. The reviews of this album pretty much confirm my opinion. Such a sad day.
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on 16 August 2010
By far the classiest jewel in Reed's crooked crown, Berlin was the height of decadence meets glam. Produced by an infinitely resourceful Bob Ezrin and boasting a host of class A session musicians, the music on this platter is an endless delight of detail, nuance, and attitude. And needless to say, great songs played consummately. So, my dismay at listening to this live run through is almost inevitable, I suppose.

Ezrin's stylish keyboard, choir, string, and brass arrangements may be unmatched by any other rock album. They're lush, intricate, regal, and mystical, dressing Reed's tunes in emperor's clothes. This stage version includes all the armory yet, with the exception of the brass section, the rest sound insignificant and bring little to the table. Listen to the one-dimensional arrangement of the vocals on "Sad Song" -- they simply follow the chord changes and leave out the original harmonies. Also, the choir melody lines in most songs are oversimplified to the point of banality. The keyboard (which starts off promisingly) and the strings are not only drowned out but also dumbed down to obvious phrases. Basically, half the beauty of the album is missing, that's what.

While it is a pleasure to hear Steve Hunter on guitar, this is strictly a Lou show and not a Berlin one. As someone elsewhere pointed out, a strange vibe permeates the performance, as if everyone is afraid to step on Lou's toes (the director's adulatory intro is enough to get that ball rolling).

On another note, Lou still refuses to sing complete melodies and goes for the 'out-of-tune' effect whenever he can. A shame really, since Berlin is a deeply and enchantingly melodic record. In fact, Lou seems to have trouble singing entire phrases and his voice has dropped at least half an octave, leaving it hoarse and rough. Chopping the phrases up is the alternative. The problem becomes glaring on the more tuneful and up-tempo songs, particulary "Caroline Says I" where Lou is nowhere near the chorus parts. So, if your looking for that mellifluous, world-weary, seductive, and wry enunciation wrapping itself around those stately tunes, go to the source.

If anything, this live version made me listen to the original again...and again.
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on 17 May 2012
I have long avoided this, mainly due the fact that I have had my fill of Lou's recent works which though containing some fantastic moments are starting to sound very similar. I am one of those who enjoyed elements of the Metallica combination too. But there is an excess of spoken songs lacking melodies and tunes. I guess that sums up Berlin in this format. Everyone is doing a sterling job, Steve Hunter is a joy to listen to, Tony Thunder is dynamic and on the money and Fernando saunders does a superb job and adds extra dimensions to the bass of Jack Bruce (no mean feat). The orchestra and choir parts are beautifully performed and directed too. You may notice I have missed somebody out...Now I know he is getting on a bit and has nothing to prove either in performance, writing or in making records but, for me Lou lets the side down here. The singing (sic) is more of a monologue which does not allow any of the melodies to air themselves and rhythmically they do not work. Often the delivery is late, as though Lou has forgotten the words, and this is someone who has no equal when it comes to rhythm and meter combined with melody (IMHO). In this performance it all goes to pot, and this is a shame for the piece as a whole. Also the guitar playing is suspect too. It has a middly distorted sound which when unleashed (sic) muddys the sound and adds nothing in the form of rhythm, and this from the unequalled king of the rhythm guitar (IMHO). Was Dick Wagner busy?
In essesnce it shows how great the original is and maybe that Lou can't sustain the vocal delivery over a period of time anymore which is fair enough at the age of 70. I read somehwere that the original project had to be edited down to fit on an album, it would be great to hear the whole project as it was intended (I think?)
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on 13 September 2010
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.
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on 19 July 2014
Great! A true rock experience. Unique Lou,proves his point and the world catches up,hopefully! A classic rock album,way ahead of its time. Will watch/listen to this album forever.
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on 28 April 2014
5 out of 5 as the product arrived swiftly and was in pristine condition. Excellent to watch, I would recommend it to anyone
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on 1 October 2014
Lou at his best. I've always liked this underrated album, but this live performance really brings it to life
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on 4 March 2016
What a dream to see this album come alive! Great performance, and Lou looks like he's having a lot of fun.
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on 3 December 2013
Best performance of the late Lou. Just miss walk on wild side, Now I will need to buy another one
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on 7 November 2015
The concert footage is very good but overall the film is a little weak
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