Hasta luego, Lou

Mountain Xpress took a walk on the mild side this morning with rock innovator Lou Reed. The former Velvet Underground singer and songwriter was about to board his tour bus, parked in front of the Three Dog Bakery on Battery Park Avenue. Last night, he played a sold-out show at the Orange Peel.

Lou’s time here was growing short, but we got a few words in. We asked, “Can we take your picture?” His response: “Go ahead, have fun. Just don’t ask me to pose, and don’t use a flash.”

So, we asked, “How’s it going in Asheville so far?”

“It couldn’t be better,” he said. And then he boarded the bus, which will take him to Knoxville for a performance tonight at the Tennessee Theatre.

We didn’t get to ask him, so we’ll ask you. A question for those in the know: How was the show?

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

photo by Jason Sandford

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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9 thoughts on “Hasta luego, Lou

  1. James P. Fisher

    Let the man get on the bus,Jon! Great show, Lou at 66 puts it on ya. I loved the fact that he didn’t cater to those who know two songs – you know which ones. He played tunes off of everything from New York (Halloween Parade) to one off of Magic and Loss, his collaboration with Cale after many years apart. Some good obscure VU stuff, including a sweet encore of Perfect Day. Kudos to the Peel for a great show-not too packed, excellent sound,etc. The show could have been longer, but I am just a greedy fan. Sure hope other rockers can do it like Lou in their sixties!

  2. Nico

    Jason, I couldn’t disagree more with your statement, “There just seems to be no direct connection to R&B;, the blues, or anything remotely black. Instead it’s just ponderous strumming of the guitar.” – unless you’re just referring to his show, which I wasn’t at.

    You should find the demo version of VU’s “Train Comin’ Round the Bend”, and see if you can’t find how the blues most definitely was an influence on Lou’s sound.

  3. Jason Bugg

    Nico-

    You had to delve that far back into Reed’s catalogue to find something that had an ounce of soul or feeling?

    Thanks for proving my point about the blandness of Reed’s music.

    Like I said over at my blog (which people should read everyday), Reed’s music is great if it’s 3 AM and you’ve just returned home from a bar, but there is not a single moment in the day where I think to myself “Wow, life is great and some Lou Reed would really add to this”.

    It’s pedestrian music for boring white people to listen to and think that they are being edgy.

  4. “It’s pedestrian music for boring white people to listen to and think that they are being edgy.”

    That’s part of the reason why I wanted to go to this show – to see how those boring white people reacted to Melt-Banana (who, last I heard, were supposed to be the opening act).

    I have two words for Lou Reed: Angus Freakin’ MacLise.

  5. Caleb Whitaker

    How was the Lou Reed show? Well, let me tell you…

    I pulled up to the Peel from the South Market extension about 9:30, figuring I’d skip Melt-Banana and get there right when he hit the stage. I saw ambulances and emergency workers swarming about near the intersection, and an EMT told me that a homeless guy had fallen off the embankment and died, and the rescue crews were engaged in a protracted recovery process. Across the street there was another, unrelated ambulance in the Asheville Hardware parking lot. I got to the ticket window and inside the box office I see the Peel’s manager talking with a group of police, EMTs and the fire marshal. The woman at the window had just sealed up the ticket window, and was telling everyone to wait a minute. I could hear Lou Reed and his band jamming from inside the Peel. Then out the front door come the EMTs with a young woman strapped to the gurney. Overdose? But she was awake and sitting up. They loaded her on the ambulance and it left. Then the manager came out and told me what the fire marshal told him: that the place was at max capacity, even though there was a line of people holding tickets and waiting to get in. The reason given was that the people inside were ‘larger than your average Orange Peel crowd,’ thus fewer people needed to reach capacity. So I saw him give the order to stop letting people in, and start giving refunds. I called my friends who were already inside, and they came out and told me that Melt-Banana had cancelled and it was re-billed as ‘An Evening with Lou Reed’. They told me he had taken the stage at 8:15 and had by now been playing for an hour and a half, and that he had played Sweet Jane and that he sounded awesome. Meanwhile the vibe outside was getting uglier as people realized what had happened. Some people were accepting their refund and leaving, but others were arguing with management, some were trying to cut deals with people leaving the concert to be their replacement if they were leaving for good, and some were just milling about swearing and smoking. I decided to try and slip in amidst the confusion, but the bouncer caught me and turned me around. So I never got to see Lou Reed. I could hear his band in the background, a sweet but distant sound, obscured by rescue workers, angry crowds, flashing lights, dead vagrants and overdoses. Oh yeah, special thanks to Overdose Girl for ruining it for those of us stranded outside who had to settle for a refund.
    Perhaps only Lou Reed could have generated that kind of chaos by proxy. I don’t know if he had anything to do with it, but things like that drive me out of my mind. I went home and put on Transformer and played it real loud and paced around the house until I calmed down enough to fall asleep.

  6. Eliot Lytle

    I would have never paid $100 for two tickets had I know Melt Banana was not going to show. I enjoyed Lou Reed and had no problem with the song choices as I am a fan of love songs. However, the ticket price was bloated and the absence of Melt Banana was nothing short of false advertising. I saw Pere Ubu in Charlotte a few weeks back and the ticket price was $10 they made Lou Reed look like a slow old man. For $10 Pere Ubu did a complete score to the movie “The Man With X-Ray Eyes” and then proceeded to perform a brutal hour and a half concert.It was real, it was vital, it was now… Lou Reed came off like a tired relic who was doing us a favor by being there.

  7. Ezekiel

    “It’s pedestrian music for boring white people to listen to and think that they are being edgy.”

    After a comment like that, I fully expect to see the Bugg shaking his booty onstage with George Clinton next week.

    BTW, I wonder if George ever played there when it was the Original Orange Peel?

  8. Jason Bugg

    Let it be known that if someone can get with Clinton’s people about letting me on stage, my white booty will be shaking for all of Asheville to see next week.

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