Lou Reed Newcastle City Hall 30th September 1973

Lou Reed Newcastle City Hall 30th September 1973
loureedtixIn December 1972, having left the Velvet Underground a year or so earlier, Lou Reed released “Transformer”, his seminal album, which was co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. The record, partly through Bowie’s success, introduced Reed to a wider audience, especially in the UK. The hit single “Walk on the Wild Side” came off the album. Bowie said of Lou Reed’s music” “I had never heard anything quite like it. It was a revelation to me.” Reed released his next album: “Berlin” in 1973 and toured the UK on what is sometimes called “The Rock And Roll Animal Tour” to promote it. I remember that Lou was dressed all in black leather, his face covered in make up. The concert was a mix of highs and lows; at times I recall thinking Reed’s performance excellent, at other times in the same show it seemed that he didn’t care at all about the songs he was singing, or the audience. The moment that sticks in my mind most of all came during his performance of the Velvet Underground classic “Heroin”. During the song, Reed wrapped a belt around his arm, and simulated injecting his vein with heroin. Pretty shocking and heavy stuff, but it underlined the lyrics and the scary message of the song. Looking at the songs he played during that tour, it includes songs which were quite new to me at the time, and are now recognised as classics: “Vicous”, “Sweet Jane”, “Waiting for the Man” (always my favourite), “Satellite of Love” and of course “Walk on the Wild Side”. According to records from the time the support act was the Persuasions, an a cappella group from Brooklyn, New York, formed in the mid-1960s. Now I remember seeing the Persuasions at Lincoln Festival in 1972, and being very impressed by them, but I have absolutely no recollection of seeing them at this gig; but hey ho that’s the way my memory is now. Maybe they did play, maybe I was in the bar during their set (quite likely for the time 🙂 ). Lou Reed’s band for the tour: Lou Reed – vocals, guitar; Steve Hunter – guitar; Dick Wagner -guitar; Ray Colcord – organ; Prakash John – bass; Pentti Glan – drums
Based on setlists from the tour, Reed is likely to have played a selection something like this: Vicious (or Sweet Jane); How Do You Think It Feels?; Caroline Says I; I’m Waiting for the Man; Satellite of Love; Walk on the Wild Side; Oh, Jim; Heroin; White Light/White Heat; Rock & Roll (possibly Sister Ray)
I also saw Lou perform at The Who’s Chartlon concert in 1974. By this point he was sporting bright white bleached hair. He again played a mix of his solo stuff and Velvet Underground classics. I deeply regret that I never got to see the Velvet Underground. I did go and see a version of the band when they were due to play at Sunderland Locarno in 1972. I am pretty sure that they didn’t turn up that night. The next time I saw Lou Reed was some 30 years later. I’ll write more about Lou Reed and about that gig in particular tomorrow.
“Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side, And the colored girls go, Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo” (Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed, 1972). Pure magic.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mike Hopkinson on April 8, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Another fantastic record of your memories and again with great detail. It paints a picture of being there. I also regret not being able to see the Velvets, I was too young first time round, and could not get to the reunion gig in London a number of years ago. I saw Lou in Manchester in 1996 and he was really great, a very unique talent and much missed. Regards, Hockey


    • Posted by vintagerock on April 8, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Hi Hockey Many thanks for your support. I too regret not going to the Velvet’s reunion gig. I was very busy and tied up with work at the time. Looking back I really should have gone. A friend went and came back really excited about it Cheers Peter


  2. Wow!!! great!!


  3. Posted by Ann on November 27, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I went to the concert in Liverpool a couple of days before and the Persuasions where the highlight of the night


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