Critic’s Notebook: Lou Reed’s Complicated Spirit Is Invoked at a Reunion of His Internal Circle

December 18th, 2013

Righteous guitar sounds began and ended the memorial for Lou Reed on Monday evening at the Apollo Theater. It was a celebration, for an invited audience of household and pals, of what more than one particular speaker called his “complexity”: his kindness and his asperity, his spirituality and his earthiness, his groundbreaking tunes and his silent meditations.

“He lived for beauty,” explained his widow, the efficiency artist Laurie Anderson. “Lou knew what he was carrying out and what he was likely for. His incredible complexity and his anger ended up element of his elegance.”

Early arrivals heard Marc Ribot and Doug Wieselman, with their electric powered guitars cranked up, actively playing a dissonant, pealing, improvisational duet that at some point fixed into “When the Saints Go Marching In.” At the end, Patti Smith led a band in the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” incorporating a lot more-uplifting lyrics to its tale of medicines, intercourse and murder, as Ms. Anderson and users of Mr. Reed’s tai chi course shown swish moves.

By way of three hours of audio and remembrances, the songs Mr. Reed wrote for the Velvet Underground and via a constantly shifting solo occupation — challenging-nosed and unflinching, unguarded and tender, ferocious and fragile — ended up established together with his dedication to tai chi and Buddhism and his 21 a long time with Ms. Anderson. “There was in no way a one doubt that we cherished every other past anything at all else, from the time when we first met right up until the moment he died,” she mentioned.

The memorial took area fifty times after Mr. Reed’s loss of life on Oct. 27, Ms. Anderson described, at the finish of the 49 times of what Tibetan Buddhists contact the bardo, a transitional condition following demise.

She also famous that the Apollo is on 125th Avenue, a handful of blocks from the corner the place, in a definitive Velvet Underground tune, the narrator waits in “I’m Ready for the Man.” Mr. Reed’s longtime producer, Hal Willner, and Paul Simon cited Mr. Reed’s lifelong admiration of African-American tunes, from doo-wop to Ornette Coleman to Nicki Minaj.

Ms. Anderson mentioned that Mr. Reed wrote tracks in single bursts. “He would wake up in the middle of the night time and just compose the tune down and it was total,” she stated. “He in no way changed a word. He considered, ‘First considered, greatest considered.’ ”

Mr. Simon sang the Velvets’ “Pale Blue Eyes,” marveling at its elegance and admitting there were strains he never ever understood. Emily Haines, from the Canadian band Metric, sang “All Tomorrow’s Events,” and Jenni Muldaur sang the pensive “Jesus.” Deborah Harry rocked through “White Light/White Warmth.”

Ms. Smith chose “Perfect Day” for what she known as “Lou’s most poignant lyric”: “You produced me fail to remember myself/I thought I was somebody else, an individual good.” The a cappella doo-wop group the Persuasions reworked Mr. Reed’s “Turning Time Close to.” Antony Hegarty, who appeared in the phase creation of Mr. Reed’s album “Berlin,” executed a slow, poignant, tremulous “Candy States.” Julian Schnabel, who filmed “Berlin,” calmly recited the patricidal, carnage-crammed “Rock Minuet.”

The saxophonist John Zorn represented Mr. Reed’s improvisational facet with a squealing, scurrying, exultantly perpetual-movement yawp of a solo. And Philip Glass, on piano, accompanied a recitation of the Kaddish prayer.

Maureen Tucker, the Velvet Underground’s drummer, study a information from John Cale, its keyboardist and violist, declaring: “Regardless of our distinctions, we never ever really drifted too considerably from what at first introduced us together. I guess which is what true friendship is, and I skip my good friend.”

Mr. Willner recalled that Mr. Reed’s albums, including “Berlin” and “Metal Equipment Tunes,” have been venomously reviewed at very first, only to be acclaimed later. The tai chi master Ren GuangYi gave a silent demonstration.

Video clips of Mr. Reed showed him performing as a bleached-blonde rocker, deadpanning his way by way of droll interviews and popping up in movies. And at the end, Ms. Anderson spoke about daily life together as a few. “We talked nonstop about every thing conceivable for 21 a long time,” she mentioned. “We talked about how to make one thing beautiful, what to do when you fall short, and how to make something supremely unsightly.”

She extra: “Almost every day we stated, ‘You are the enjoy of my daily life,’ or some version of that, in one of our several non-public and considerably bizarre languages. We understood precisely what we had, and we ended up over and above grateful.”

Mr. Reed’s very last phrases, Ms. Anderson explained, had been “Take me out into the light!”

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