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on 13 November 2009
This live album contains only 6 tracks, but then the original release of Rock'n'Roll Animal contained only 5. Both these albums come from the same concert. On this album he focuses on tracks from Transformer and Berlin and perhaps surprisingly the tracks from Berlin win out over the more commercial singles of Transformer. What you get here are lengthy extended rearrangements played live in concert. For me the versions of "Satellite of Love" and "Walk on the Wild Side" don't really benefit from the extended treatment, especially given the studio versions are so well known, but the versions of "Oh, Jim" and "Sad Song" are quite simply things of religious beauty. This is partly due to Reed's superb slightly (intentionally?) slurred vocals, when his voice was still young enough to convey more complex intonation and melody than it does now. The chief reason for the quality is Steve Hunter's superb guitar playing which is so effectively showcased in Rock'n'Roll Animal. The bass playing is also flawless and integral to the music. On Sad Song we see a band at one: Reed spitting out only a dozen lines of verse; Hunter's soaring lead guitar; a relentless rhythm section holding it all together as it escalates into a momentous climax. Lengthy guitar solos can be boring but only when they are directionless and uninspired. I know every note of the last 18 minutes of this record and they are among the best musical moments that the history of rock has to offer. You can hear the crowd at the end simply stunned by the quality of what they have just heard.
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This album was recorded at the same NYC concert in December 1973 as the earlier Rock n Roll Animal. As the second release of material from the same concert, the conventional view has always been that it's that album's poor relation, with most of the best performances cherry picked for that album and this one picking up the pieces afterwards. While there's some truth in that (i.e. Rock n Roll Animal IS a better album) it was clearly a fine gig pretty much throughout (as long as you don't have an issue with the extremely slick and conventional - for Lou Reed - hard rock arrangements) so there's not THAT much in it. Where Rock n Roll Animal majored on heavily reinvented Velvets material (with one song from current album Berlin and two more added on the expanded version), Lou Reed Live majors on Transformer and Berlin, with one Velvets song.

The opening trio of songs from Transformer are - always with the proviso that you can stomach the arrangements - very fine, and Lou is in fine vocal form, especially on Walk On The Wild Side. This sequence also has the advantage of being in the actual order they were consecutively played at the gig. We then jump back to earlier in the concert for an almost funky version of I'm Waiting For The Man. Again, the arrangement is very much a matter of taste but it's a powerful performance and the vocals are excellent. The album concludes with two of the longer and grimmer tunes from Berlin, Oh Jim and Sad Song. That said, they're both very fine songs and I've always felt the former, especially the "how could you treat me this way" outro, is not without humour. Here, it becomes a lengthy guitar duet showcasing the virtuoso playing of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. Thankfully, the playing is REALLY good if you like that sort of thing (as it is throughout both this album and RnRA - it's no surprise the whole band ended up backing Alice Cooper shortly afterwards) and they never lose the shape of the song or degenerate into formless jamming. Sad Song likewise suits the slick, lead guitar-heavy arrangement surprisingly well and closes out the album on an anthemic note.

I went through quite a long period of not really liking this album - I sold a vinyl copy many years ago - but having bought it on CD recently I'm really warming to it again. If you like Rock n Roll Animal it's pretty essential, if you're a Reed/Velvets fan but have heard neither I would try to listen to some of it first to make sure you can stomach the arrangements - it's a bit much for some Velvets purists but if you reject it on those grounds you're missing some top notch Reed vocals.

Who knows why BMG decided to shoehorn this into the "Extended Versions" series - neither the album nor any of the songs on it are extended in any way - all this achieves is vandalising the sleeve, not that it's that great but generic add-ons to the sleeve of this kind are rarely acceptable and those responsible will suffer in marketing hell. In fact, if you have the genuinely extended reissue of Rock n Roll Animal (with two extra tracks) then this completes the concert, explaining why no extra tracks have been added to any edition of this album. Surely the logical step for BMG would be to put out a double CD version of Rock n Roll Animal with all the songs in the order they were played. Shame they missed the 40th anniversary.
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on 22 November 2011
This is a great companion disc to 'Rock and Roll Animal'. Admittedly 'Oh Jim' does go on a bit but the CD is worth buying for its superb live feel. Lou is in great form, spitting out his lyrics with venom and the interplay between lead guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter is once again superb. I first bought this album on Vinyl when it first came out and the sound quality of the CD is excellent. Only gripe is that there are no sleeve notes, unlike the excellent ones that come with the CD of 'Rock and Roll Animal'. At the time of its original release it and 'Rock and Roll Animan' got a lot of flack from diehard Velvet fans, but Lou clearly wanted to move on and is still doing so as evidenced from his recent album with Metallica, 'Lulu'.
If you liked 'Rock and Roll Animal' try this too.
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on 20 July 2010
Been looking a long long time for this one. Yes, I wanted the original sleeve and yes if possible the JP-version, however the prices are a bit too high. So yes this one comes with different sleeve and no booklet, but the music is original to the LP and that's what I needed. I've always found this concert-extract better than Rock'nRoll Animal, though most of the fans prefer the R&R.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 August 2015
Six brilliant tracks performed to perfection. This CD replaces a vinyl copy from the early 1970s. The live 1972 NY concert recordings are, in my view, the best. Later versions incorporate too many variations. This and Transformer are essential albums.
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on 20 March 2013
if you know rock & roll animal this is the sister album it is just as good well worth getting
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on 20 March 2015
Better than I remember it many years ago..but then i have a much better sound system now.

The energy and excellent guitar based 'noise' I could listen to all day is as good as it gets.

Favorite track is Oh Jim, yes it is long but that's the point...
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on 19 July 2014
If you think that you know Lou Reed from his early work with the Velvet Underground and his early solo work you really should give this a listen. I first bought this on vinyl in the mid seventies along with ‘Rock n Roll Animal’ and they ‘book end’ each other beautifully. Give it a go you really will not regret it, in fact you may well regret it if you don't!
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on 25 February 2011
I'll keep it short.

While exciting moments crop up intermittently on this platter, the quasi-glam approach at times feels dated and songs like "Oh Jim" come close to plodding (apologies to guitarists extraordinaire Hunter and Wagner).

Having said that, to my ears "Lou Reed Live" has the ultimate, definitive, most compelling version of WALK ON THE WILD SIDE ever recorded. Sultry, tantalizing, a tad frolicking, and in full control, this run-through is pure FOREPLAY in motion. The vocals, in particular, are an uncanny mixture of bravado and flirtatiousness.

Don't worry, the rest will seem passable next to this.
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on 12 March 2013
A fine album my vinyl copy is 30+yrs old. Alas no record deck for some years now. Nice to hear an extended version of these same performances, it also complements my copy of Rock n Roll Animal too.
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