WOW - And I mean WOW.
First let me say: I can’t like The Velvet Underground MCMXCIII music. It is okay to play these songs differently (and if they are your songs, you have the right to play them the way you choose to), but all the time? I mean, all the time with Lou singing the lyrics off the beat? And musically a little shallow, a little compliant.
I can only guess people were totally enthusiastic with this reunion and maybe less critical. (Watching the video also made me wish for similar film and sound material from the 1960s.)
But then, after “Femme Fatale”, which is well sung by John Cale (musically again, somehow shallow), he gives us a “thank you” followed by a grand motion on his instrument. I wondered if this would lead into “The Black Angel’s Death Song”, but au contraire! It is a jam! For the most part, Lou Reed seems to be doing what he wants, without taking care of anything else (Mo on drums and Sterl on bass providing a steady scaffolding). It feels like John responds to Lou. At some point, it seems like Lou is suddenly starting to pick up on John’s viola playing, imitating, even mocking it with his guitar, to which John seems to react in the way of changing his playing. This goes on for a little while. John turns away and gets his own thing going again, and at some point, as with many jams, after at least 8 minutes, it starts to get really great. I just watched in amazement. Then we get a quick peak at “Mr. Rain” and it’s back to Duelling Banjos - if they were spat out of a black hole in some 8th dimension that is - and back again to “Mr. Rain”.
"I’ll be your mirror" was quite sweet. The rest of them - add a semi-blind slide guitar player and you’re near TV show-country music. What’s with the speed (no pun intended)?
I want to slap 1993-Lou Reed during “Sweet Jane” - it’s like he is trying to fool everyone with his singing rhythm. I want to slap 1993-John Cale’s hair. Sterling Morrison’s really got his shit together with his sweet guitar solos (and I am not a big fan of guitar solos). The booing after “Waiting for the man” is very appropriate.
"Coyote" may not be a very strong new song (it has its charme and meaning though!), but you do like it because there is no comparison and also, it’s not a shittily sped up version of a beautiful, loved piece of songwriting.