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Pop Music Review : Lou Reed At Universal: More Than All Right

August 20, 1986|DON WALLER

The most surprising thing about Lou Reed's Monday night concert at the Universal Amphitheatre was that the hall was only half-filled. Seems like, if only half the musicians in Hollywood who've been copping Sweet Lou's style, sound 'n' attitude for the last decade-plus (no names, please) had showed up, the place would've been filled to overflowing. But then, they probably don't have the price of a ticket, either.

Those who did, however, saw what amounts to Lou Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Survivor Traveling Roadshow--nearly two hours worth of two-chord rockers, third-person story-songs and seven tunes off his latest album, "Mistrial."

Fronting a quartet whose interpretations of the Lou Reed Songbook ranged from bar-band blowzy to studio-cat streamlined, the former lord of rock 'n' roll excess--also scheduled to play the Pacific Amphitheatre Tuesday--has dumped the snide asides and degenerate posturing that marred most of his '70s shows.

Instead, we get Reed, lover of primitive rock 'n' roll, New York City and the simple pleasures of riding his Harley through a misty mountain morning. And it was all right.

Actually, it was more than all right. Reed is one of America's greatest songwriters, whose collected works will serve as the basis for a Broadway musical in another 20 years or so. 'Til then, Lou's vociferous cult following will have to be content with performances as warm--and wry--as this one.

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