Lou Reed – Spanish Fly Live in Japan (2005)

by | Nov 7, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Lou Reed – Spanish Fly Live in Japan (2005)

Studio:  AIX/ Sanctuary Records
Video:  1.33:1 Full Frame
Audio:  PCM Stereo
Extras:  Photo Gallery
Length:  73 minutes
Rating:  ***1/2

To many people Lou Reed is just as important to modern music as people
like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.  His work with The
Velvet Underground is at least an important footnote in the development
of Alternative Rock music.  His music has never been very much in
the mainstream although some of his “hit” songs are included in this
concert: “Sweet Jane” (made popular again by The Cowboy Junkies) and
“Walk on the Wild Side.”  There is a good variety both in breadth
and depth on this DVD.  The songs are very story driven—some with
queer phrases—designed to provoke thought in the listener.  From
one of the more well-known tunes, “Romeo Had Juliette”:
    “The earth squeals and shudders to a halt
    A diamond crucifix in his ear
    Is used to help ward off the fear
    That he has left his soul in someone’s rented car
    Inside his pants he hides a mop
    To clean the mess he has dropped…”

The rendition of “Satellite of Love” is a big winner in this
concert.  Reed sings it slower and with more desperation, building
to an anthem that resonates with the audience.  “The Blue Mask” is
a musically upbeat song from one of Reed’s later albums in 1999. 
I wasn’t familiar with it, but surely it’s another nice addition to the
set.  In fact, the only problem with this concert is it is too

The way the video is filmed is very basic (and well-suited to Reed’s
performance style) with mostly close-ups and mid shots on Reed and with
occasional shots on the other performers. He’s looking older for sure,
but is still kicking.  His voice is strained in parts, but when
wasn’t it in the old days as well?  The way the band performs (and
Reed in particular) is very intimate and relaxed even though the
concert is a large venue and filled to the brim.  It is one of the
reasons why it’s so appealing.  The band includes Lou Reed (vocal
and guitar), Mike Rathke (guitar), Fernando Saunders (bass), Jane
Scarpantoni (cello)—see her get down on track three, and Tony “Thunder”
Smith (drums).  Songs included are: Modern Dance; Why Do You Talk;
Venus In Furs; Sweet Jane; Jesus; Romeo Had Juliette; Satellite Of
Love; Ecstasy; The Blue Mask; Perfect Day; Walk On The Wild Side.

– Brian Bloom

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