Slice of real life rock'n'roll

LOU REED may be well pinto his fifties by now, but, as he says in the song, he still wants to hooky wooky with you

LOU REED may be well pinto his fifties by now, but, as he says in the song, he still wants to hooky wooky with you. At Dublin's Point, last Saturday night, the New York legend with the curly hair and the turtle eyes made a stoic effort to set the twilight reeling, playing songs from his new album and sounding as gruff `n' ready as ever.

You don't go to a Lou Reed gig expecting anything more than the bare bones rock routine; Reed and his three piece band hit some no nonsense guitar riffs while the rock `n' roll animal himself grunted out the lyrics of everyday life in the underbelly of NYC. The title track, Set The Twilight Reeling, was a journey into the self via the dark nightspots of the city; Egg Cream, in contrast, conjured up summer days downtown, slurping up your favourite dessert while life swirls around outside. Reed's songs are so steeped in the minutiae and meaning of New York life, he's almost like, the Woody Allen of rock `n' roll. Without the glasses, of course.

Reed's rough hewn guitar playing was backed by the agile, traffic dodging bass of Fernando Saunders and the road drilling drums of Tony "Thunder" Smith, and between them they whipped up some classic rock `n' roll shakes and shimmies; guitarist Michael Rathke added a slender touch to Reed's stocky sound, striking a nice balance of power chords.

Reed played plenty of material from the new album, but though songs like Hang On To Your Emotions, Trade In and Riptide were typical Lou-ny tunes, as familiar sounding as a yellow cab, some in the audience may have felt that they were waiting too long for a busload of classics to come along. My bus came early when Reed pulled out some nuggets from 1984's New Sensations, including an extended jam of Doin' The Things That We Want To and a loose, laff riot version of I Love You Suzanne.


The real crowd pleasers came with the encore, when Reed alternated Velvet Underground songs like I'm Waiting For My Man and Pale Blue Eyes with his own Vicious and Walk On The Wild Side. Before the band walked off into the twilight, however, Reed suggested they do one more, and Satellite Of Love provided a stargazing finish to a concert which, up to then, had kept its eyes firmly fixed on the sidewalk.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist