Live From Sundance: Lou Reed

Posted January 25, 2011 in
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Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil

Lou Reed: "A Celebration of Music in Film" Party • Sunday January 23, 2011

Last night, I waited in line for nearly two hours outside of Park City’s Kimball Arts Center to see the one and only, Lou Reed. The venue’s capacity was a little over 300 and only open to Sundance Film festival credential holders or those special enough to score a slot on the guest list. I’ve been known to be on a guest list or two but not last night—so I happily posted-up in line just stoked that Lou Reed was even playing in Utah. Although the frigid temperatures did finally permeate my wool layers after the first hour, I must admit that I actually enjoyed myself while waiting to get into the show. Darin Piccoli (part owner of The State Room) and his wife Gail, weren’t too far ahead of me in the queue and as the night wore-on many fans dropped out. Before I knew it, I was right behind said friends and we jumped up and down together in line in a mad effort to stay warm. Spirits were high and soon we were sharing conversations with new friends and then … we were IN!

After successfully making it inside the venue and grabbing my complimentary Stella, I was able to score a by the soundboard just in time as an industry professional introduced Mr. Lou Reed.

Reed began his set right away opening with “Ecstasy.” The audience hushed like a bunch of school children. I was pleased to see the Sundance crowd show such respect and reverence to the living icon—a behavior that is uncommon for festival-types. I remember seeing Patti Smith perform in the same venue for this same party at Sundance 2008 and feeling the urge to bitch-slap the lady next to me for talking throughout the entire set. “Blue Mask” was played next and the table in front of me politely offered-up their seats as Reed finished his second song. I now had center seating with a perfect view and so did my friend and sometimes SLUG photographer, That Guy Gil.

Reed’s band was minimal with himself on guitar and only two musician’s backing him—a female vocalist (who popped-on and off stage as needed) and a male keyboardist/vocalist, both of whom Reed introduced but I was hypnotized in the moment and neglected to write down their names. Both were accomplished in their own right and looked to Reed constantly for direction as he made it clear many times throughout the evening that he was the Maestro. They all three played while seated.

“I’m Sticking with you” came next in Reed’s nine-song set. It was sung with the sugary sweet vocals of his female band member mixed up front and it was fun. I was more pleased when he moved on to play “Rock Minuet.” This was the point in the show when I realized that Lou Reed was using an iPad to read his lyrics. Being a new iPad owner myself, I thought that was pretty fucking cool and techy.

“Small Town” was next and I think Reed forgot he was in Park City because he inserted Sundance into the song where the town name was supposed to be. We all know what he ment— a few of us snickered quietly and looked at each other awkwardly. I was a little embarrassed for Mr. Reed and opted for another free beer.

While I was at the bar I noticed they were serving dessert, a white chocolate snowball with blood orange chocolate mousse inside. The snowball was made by Chief Jules Story of Cuisine Unlimited. She was really nice and proud of her product do I took her picture. I snagged one of these and was back in my seat just in time to hear the beginning keyboard measure of “I’m Waiting for the Man.”

A few of us hooted and hollered, stoked we could hear the man that wrote this song play it and not some stupid cover band. I never thought I’d have the chance to hear Lou Reed play a ANY Velvet’s material live. “Perfect Day” is next and I feel my eyes burn. Lou Reed made me cry because although it was not a perfect day, it sure felt like it was right then, during that song.

Lou Reed left the stage and I was frightened that the show was over. I suspected that Reed might be one of those types that don’t believe in encores. Thankfully I was wrong and he came back for two more.

Reed sang “Candy Says” which made me remember that the very first film I ever saw at Sundance was a Warhol film of the Velvet Underground playing in the Factory. It was two hours of Andy filming Nico and occasionally the rest of the band. He did not have a steady hand.

Last came “I’ll be Your Mirror.” It was the perfect way to end an intimate concert and left me wanting more.

Lou Reed was at Sundance this year to promote his new role as a filmmaker. The documentary film he made only screened once. Sadly, I was unable to attend the screening. It’s called Red Shirley and I’m pretty sure it will get national distribution so chances are we can probably watch it on Netflix in six months...

Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil Lou Reed performing live from Sundance. Photo courtesy of That Guy Gil Desserts!