By G. H. Harding

Lou Reed

REED RIP --- I was at the desktop yesterday afternoon working, listening to Coldplay, of all things, when the news flashed that Lou Reed had passed … and, it was like a swift kick in the gut. I was never a Velvet Underground man at first and my first introduction to Reed was for his 1972 song “Walk On The Wild Side,” from his Transformer album; I was playing it on my college-radio show. The lyrics to that song literally gobsmacked me when I first heard then …. Was he really talking about that? 

The song was a Top 20 hit and the accompanying album was solid as well. When I finally looked at the artist himself, I remember vividly reading more and more about The Underground (“Sweet Jane”) … and, then I was hooked. 

Reed, in his 50-year career was musically adventurous and a restlessly provocative solo artist, from the 70’s into the 2010's; he was thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example.

"One chord is fine," he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

He was a true New York treasure. My two favorite Reed-encounters were, at a movie premiere in New York, I was seated in the third row; I got up and right in back of me were Reed and Laurie Anderson. I looked Reed right in the eye, more surprised than anything else and he gave me the nod. My other favorite moment was when I saw him in Brooklyn, at the St. Ann’s Warehouse when he performed his Berlin album in its entirety (by now, having become a classic), with most of the original band and it was simply stunning (original producer Bob Ezrin conducting in a white lab coat and the brilliant Steve Hunter on guitar). There’s an absolutely terrific DVD from the show, directed by Julian Schnabel; a close Reed-associate. 

That’s another thing for me about Reed; he moved effortlessly between the music crowd (David Bowie produced Transformer) and the art-crowd (Andy Warhol was The Velvet’s manager) and was exemplary in both. Make no mistake: a huge, huge loss for New York and the music scene in general. 

In no particular order; Lou Reed essentials: Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For The Man” and “Sister Ray”; Reed’s “Pale Blue Eyes,” “Satellite of Love,” “Walk On The Wild Side,” “Vicious,” “Sad Song,” “Sweet Jane,” the entire 1975 album Metal Machine Music, “Street Hassle,” the entire Berlin and Magic And Loss albums; “The Day John Kennedy Died,” “Waves Of Fear,” “I Love You, Suzanne,” and “White Light, White Heat,” and, “Dirty Blvd.,” and “Perfect Day.” No doubt about it ... we've lost a pure original.

FISH FRY --- We caught Broadway’s Big Fish over the weekend and loved Norbert Leo Butz in the title role and the angelic Kate Baldwin as his wife. I do recall seeing the 2004 Tim Burton which the play is based on, as a son tries to learn more about his dying father by reliving stories and myths he told about his life.

The direction, by the estimable Susan Strothman borders on breathtaking as the visuals are just astounding, and Butz is nothing short of amazing. His efforts lift the play to dazzling heights. The second act is the stronger of the two and the songs “Showdown” and “Start Over” tower over the rather lackluster score. Also winning are Ryan Andes (Karl) and Brad Oscar (Captain Calloway), but Butz brings the play to an altogether new high.

CLOSING NOTES: Today's Carson Daly misread it earlier, but Lou Reed grew up in Freeport, New York ...

"Dreams Come True," the new wedding anthem of the millennium, performed by Rebecca Holden & Abraham McDonald, (available via Silver Blue/Summit Records) and, produced by Joel Diamond and Rudy Perez, were in Nashville last week shooting their music video.

 Fleetwood Mac have canceled their upcoming Australian and New Zealand tour after founding member John McVie was diagnosed with cancer ... A statement from Fleetwood Mac reads: Fleetwood Mac who has just completed the European leg of their phenomenally successful worldwide tour has announced the cancellation of their upcoming 14 date tour of Australia and New Zealand. John McVie, one of the co founding and original members of Fleetwood Mac is now scheduled to be in treatment for cancer during that period of time.We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates. We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best...

 Celine Dion on Today earlier singing a track from her new album Loved Me Back To Life .... Sounded great with a new mix for her voice and a new edgier style. No one will ever forget her singing the theme from the movie Titanic; but, this one is nice ...

 We'd be remiss in not mentioning how good CSI: Las Vegas' 300 episode was last week ("Frame by Frame"). Sure Billy Petersen is gone, as is Marg Helgenberger .... but, both were referenced in some nifty flashbacks at the conclusion of the episode. The Las Vegas edition is the only one still standing; but, the shows this year have been routinely terrific ...

We got word that the venerable Palm West eatery on 50th street in NYC is now on twitter. No PR anymore, but on Twitter. One of our favorite flacks about town, David Salidor, handled the spot for three years and news of the restaurant was literally everywhere and, they hosted some of the most fashionable parties around town as well. According to David, "Bruce Bozzi, Jr., just shut it down one day ... he said they were concentrating more on their direct mailing list. They missed out on some great events." We miss those days!