Lou Reed 2.0

Jonathan Miller, CEO of AOL, introduces Lou Reed last night, calling him a poet, a writer, a musician, and the person who introduced him to his kung-fu mentor. What the?

Lou Reed at the Web 2.0 SummitSo Lou Reed gets on stage with two accompanying musicians, flanked by large video screens zoomed in directly on his weathered face. He begins playing a song to the buttoned down and sitting down Web 2.0 crowd. Meanwhile there’s an audible drone of people talking in the back of the large room.

Between songs Lou looks pissed, but I think that’s normal. He tells the crowd, “You can keep on talking, I’ve only got 20 minutes. Or I can turn up the music. I can turn it up so loud it will hurt. Do you want me to turn it up? Do you want me to make it hurt?” (rough paraphrase). How awkward.

He’s met with some faint cheering/clapping to turn it up, so over the mike to his sound guy, he growls, “Frank turn it up!” Frank probably thought he was joking. Lou repeats himself once or twice: “Frank, turn it up, Frank turn up the sound!”

The sound gets cranked up, the conversation in the back of the room gets drowned out (or stops). A sense of shock travels through the audience. Shit, we pissed off Lou! People are still sitting. Except for one Tim O’Reilly, who gets up and does his signature West County snake-charmer dance across the auditorium.

By the time he makes his way across the whole room, he’s in front of me and Melanie, so I figure, what the heck, he’s got balls, I might as well stand up. Melanie follows suit, but we’re the only two people standing, clapping, as Tim bounces around the room.

By the time the song ends, the attendees, who are either impressed by Tim’s gall, or Lou’s, finally get off their feet for the rest of the performance, including the song “Sweet Jane.”

At one point Lou muses on his predicament: “Who would have thought it would come to this. I’d be playing at a cyberspace conference, brought here by AOL, introduced by my kung-fu brother.”

Update: Here’s a video of Lou’s first song. (via Boing Boing)

34 Comments

wow, who “followed suit”?
Eh, thinks it was this melanie-girl who told the both of you to take a stand —
but hey, who’s counting — aside from Lou?

N.B.: don’t piss off music legends in the future

That’s about as surreal as it gets. Or at least I hope it is!

This pretty much sums up the Web 2.0 phenomena in one event. A rock icon, at your beck and call, and the crowd can only urinate on him culminating with a few intrepid souls bracing the yellow tide…

Think this would’ve happened at one of our NC unconferences? Hell NO.

To those talking during Lou – you’re wankers of the highest caliber…

BTW, that’s a killer photograph – can I use it sometime?

WillR, the original photo is licensed by-nc-sa, so go for it.

Raketemensch

I saw Elvis Costello, Emceed by Ben Stein, at a streaming company’s IPO party in Manhattan. These are always really stilted places to see music, but they must pay pretty well.

Musicians gotta eat.

From Salon, via Jonathan:

“Nastiness constituted a large chunk of [Lou Reed’s] charm. He would curse at his audiences, curse at the critics — he once mortified band mates with a Stalinist salute to a crowd in Europe. All this only confirms that we insist on seeing genius in an artist’s hatred of us, or perhaps in our own loving of an artist hating us. And there’s his perseverance, too: We adore the tenacity of an artist who continues to drag out this terrific rock cliché year after year, sneer after sneer.”

Raketemensch, at $3k/head for Web 2.0, it would only take 10 registrations to pay Lou 30G’s for 20 minutes of playing. Or maybe it was a favor for his senior kung-fu brother?

[…] ha. Lou Reed gets pissed at Web 2.0 conference. Via Just Insomina. (And originally sent via email from John Adams). Lou’s performance, here. So Lou Reed gets on stage with two accompanying musicians, flanked by large video screens zoomed in directly on his weathered face. He begins playing a song to the buttoned down and sitting down Web 2.0 crowd. Meanwhile there’s an audible drone of people talking in the back of the large room. […]

from sydney

Hey dude

I watched the video and there doesn’t seem to be audible conversation at all. Maybe the el cheapo video camera didn’t pick it up with its $2 microphone.

Also, do you have a link to where Lou gets mad? Seeing that would make my office based drone like day.

Hi WillR, I’m the photographer (though I can’t take credit for Justinsomnia’s great crop). Feel free to use the photo under the CC by-nc-sa license. If you have a commercial use in mind, just leave me a comment on my blog.

I’m posting more photos of the show now, so check my Flickr photo stream for updates.

jackie

this makes me feel pity for Lou, something that should not happen. Nice boingboing post.

venus on fire

Lou, you had every right to be pissed off, if folks dont want to listen they should go outside and yap. You are looking good so take care of yourself, man. I guess what is sad, is that even 40 years ago (god has it been that long?) some folks did not get it, and probably never will. Rock on, play as loud as you need to. Or as soft….the right ones that need your message will get it. It is so vital to make music sometimes and there will always be those that cant do it or refuse to learn.

Peace! Thank you for all you have give us.

from sydney, I haven’t seen any video footage of him getting mad, though I imagine it must be out there somewhere. I think it happened after the first or second song.

truth

Lou Reed is old and irrelevant. The bubble is certainly back when out of touch rich guys overpay dud’s like Reed to play their hype-fests. Quick, someone define a Web 2.0 company. Right…

[…] This ought to bum out aging hippies the world over. Via Boing Boing, I read that Lou Reed played the Web 2.0 conference, and people didn’t even stop talking in the back of the auditorium. […]

tree

lou must be hurting for money pretty bad – can’t imagine he feels much love for this crowd.

[…] Lou Reed plays a web conference while people keep yakking; he cranks it up Now, I’m no Lou Reed, but I had this same thing happen to me when I emceed the Bay Area’s Best a few weeks ago. Of course, Lou was presumably getting big bucks for his gig. I just did mine for the love. And no one empowered me to turn things up. Next time […]

carter

Everyone remember that Bill Hicks bit about how if you do a commercial you’re off the artistic roll-call forever? When exactly did some taste-maker decide that folks who care about rock music should just accept unlimited selling out? Might it have anything to do with pervasive advertising in New Media?

Anyway, Lou is Lou because he both took the gig and got honestly pissed about how stupid it is to play his kind of music to corporate employees and white-shirted engineers.

In the end, Lou gets my respect, his early work was simply monumental, and he still occasionally comes out with a little bit of something of unusual quality. His performance was very nearly the only interesting thing in that pathetic Scorsese blues documentary series.

[…] Whilst trivial, I also feel that the choice of ‘guest musician’ – Lou Reed – was perhaps indicative of the tastes and era of the typical Web2.0 Summit attendee (and a great example of how out of touch many of them are with what’s current). Reed is an acclaimed musician but he’s hardly the embodiment of the supposed fresh and edgy bleeding edge of the Web2.0 scene. In a somewhat melancholic fashion, Lou was even quoted as saying: “who would have thought it would come to this. I’d be playing at a cyberspace conference, brought here by AOL”. […]

[…] Lou Reed is playing an AOL function. “Between songs Lou looks pissed, but I think that’s normal. He tells the crowd, “You can keep on talking, I’ve only got 20 minutes. Or I can turn up the music. I can turn it up so loud it will hurt. Do you want me to turn it up? Do you want me to make it hurt?” (rough paraphrase). How awkward.” (Link) (Via Boing Boing) […]

Zippy

Lou should have played all 17 minutes of Sister Ray. The dissonant feedback drenched love song to a tranny whore that sucks cock for smack. VU will ALWAYS be relevant.

[…] This seems like an undignified route for a rock star. But then, it’s Lou Reed. And him and dignity were never real close. Between songs Lou looks pissed, but I think that’s normal. He tells the crowd, “You can keep on talking, I’ve only got 20 minutes. Or I can turn up the music. I can turn it up so loud it will hurt. Do you want me to turn it up? Do you want me to make it hurt?” (rough paraphrase). How awkward. […]

People are often rude, so it’s not really that weird.

Manny

Lou Reed has always been both awesomely cool and embarassingly lame. Didn’t he once marry a college student named “Sylvia”? What about that NY Press article about 10 years ago, where he did a record signing in a mall, and the author got him to sign a Lou Rawls record?

Lou is an icon, who never got his monetary due. If AOL is paying him for a 20 minute gig, so be it. I’ve been to enough conference parties where they drag out acts like the B-52’s, (who I’ll always love), and then everyone gets to scream for Rock Lobster, above the useless drone and chatter. No matter what, Lou is the Asshole always there to set us straight. Thank you Lou. He played Sweet Jane. how cool is that…. very

[…] “Jonathan Miller, CEO of AOL, introduces Lou Reed last night, calling him a poet, a writer, a musician, and the person who introduced him to his kung-fu mentor. What the? (…)”. A review of Lou Reed’s performance at the AOL Web 2.0 party                […]

Whoa whoa! The CEO of AOL, and Lou Reed’s senior kung-fu brother is out at AOL.

the black angel did weep for the night. it was so bright it burned my eyes. it let my eyes turn to light. it was so bright like the energy which cannot be seen but felt just like your music which transends time like all good philosophy.

How is it possible that I didn’t find this photo before now? A Martial Arts Profile of Jonathon Miller – ex-CEO, AOL

Todd

Dudes…does this mean Lou Reed is a sell out.

Name

Email (optional)

Blog (optional)