http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/dc2fdac7f099e4fb437afadc689644af61ea6f97.jpg Perfect Night: Live In London

Lou Reed

Perfect Night: Live In London

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
April 16, 1998

Call Lou Reed's new live album anything but Rock n Roll Animal II. That classic 1974 concert recording captured the debauched essence of Lou Reed in all his fucked-up rock-star glory. A better title for the markedly more refined Perfect Night: Live in London might be PBS Animal, or perhaps even Rock n Roll Adult, particularly since this mature sonic blast of a record has been released as a companion piece to Rock and Roll Heart, a PBS documentary about Reed. By any name, however, it's a serious pleasure to hear Reed all grown up and sorta happy at last.

Recorded live during last summer's Meltdown Festival at London's Royal Festival Hall — an event organized by noted performance artist (and Reed's main squeeze) Laurie Anderson — Perfect Night isn't exactly unplugged; rather, it's an amplified acoustic affair with moments of real musical electricity. As anyone who's read Reed interviews in recent years knows, the one-time Velvet Underground leader has turned into a total techie and aural obsessive, and with the crystal-clear sound of Perfect Night, such concern pays off.

Ultimately, though, what makes Perfect Night a night to remember are Reed's delicate but vital performances from a set list that ranges from the Velvet's "I'll Be Your Mirror" to tracks from 1996's Set the Twilight Reeling. Reed doesn't trot out the greatest near-hits again, but instead goes deep into his songbook for material ripe for a little stripped-down rediscovery, breathing new life into Berlin's "The Kids," Transformer's "Vicious" and New York's "Busload of Faith," among others. Not everything is perfect — you'd be hard pressed to find a song in his oeuvre less worthy than "Sex With Your Parents (Motherfucker)," an alreadymoldy, political novelty number. Still, take this walk on Reed's relatively mild side and you'll discover that the guy's still pretty wild in his own decidedly nonanimalistic way.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »