photos by Adam Nelson | WORKHOUSE
The late Lou Reed was honored with a last-minute memorial in Harlem at the legendary Apollo Theatre last night (12/17), which was organized by his wife Laurie Anderson. The memorial saw some of Lou's notable friends/collaborators singing the songs of the Velvet Underground and his solo career plus reading or performing tributes to him, including Patti Smith and her bandmate Lenny Kaye, Antony Hegarty, Debbie Harry (of Blondie), Paul Simon, John Zorn, Philip Glass, former VU bandmate Moe Tucker, and others. An excerpt from the NY Times review of the show reads:
Ms. Anderson said that Mr. Reed wrote songs in single bursts. "He would wake up in the middle of the night and just write the song down and it was complete," she said. "He never changed a word. He thought, 'First thought, best thought.' "That review also points out that Laurie Anderson said Lou's last words were "Take me out into the light!"
Mr. Simon sang the Velvets' "Pale Blue Eyes," marveling at its beauty and admitting there were lines he never understood. Emily Haines, from the Canadian band Metric, sang "All Tomorrow's Parties," and Jenni Muldaur sang the pensive "Jesus." Deborah Harry rocked through "White Light/White Heat."
Ms. Smith chose "Perfect Day" for what she called "Lou's most poignant lyric": "You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good." The a cappella doo-wop group the Persuasions reworked Mr. Reed's "Turning Time Around." Antony Hegarty, who appeared in the stage production of Mr. Reed's album "Berlin," performed a slow, poignant, tremulous "Candy Says." Julian Schnabel, who filmed "Berlin," calmly recited the patricidal, carnage-filled "Rock Minuet."
The saxophonist John Zorn represented Mr. Reed's improvisational side with a squealing, scurrying, exultantly perpetual-motion yawp of a solo. And Philip Glass, on piano, accompanied a recitation of the Kaddish prayer.
Pictures of the memorial are in this post. They continue below...