Lou Reed, Baudelaire of Rock & Roll
The production Berlin [Synchronized], first part of a triptych, is an adaptation of one of Lou Reed’s most discussed artistic creations both as a musician and lyricist of the concept album Berlin. The album Berlin, one of the most influential albums in the history of pop music is Lou Reed’s most ambitious artistic production. With Berlin he was able to realize his literary and artistic ambitions. Reed completed the album in 1973.
‘He spoke the language of people with nothing’ (Martin Scorsese).
After thirty-three years, in December 2006 he performed Berlin live for the first time during a number of performances in Europe and New York. Of the five concerts in New York a record was released: Berlin Live at St.Ann’s-Warehouse in 2008. The original from 1973, originally intended as a theatre performance, was never performed due to financial problems.
An important starting point within Berlin [Synchronized] are the lyrics of Lou Reed. Berlin was, according to Reed, the first album in which he was able to realize his literary and artistic ambitions. Reed’s grim lyrics tell the story of the disintegrating marriage between two doomed addicts, Caroline and Jim. He describes how Caroline and Jim’s marriage degenerates into infidelity, violence and suicide. Caroline is portrayed as an unfaithful and promiscuous woman. Jim is thrown between an intense desire, cold contempt and malice towards her.
‘Lou has found a way to transform the reality of the street into beauty’ (Bob Enzrin, producer).
The first part of Berlin [Synchronized] tells a musically and visually connected story that serves as a prelude to the main theme of the show, with songs like ‘Wating For My Man’, ‘Venus In Furs’ and ‘Sweet Jane’ from Reed’s Velvet Underground era.
Just like Caroline, Candy from ‘Candy Says’ lives in an environment that will destroy her. Her deep self- alienation (I’ve come to hate my body, and all that it requires in this world) is one source of her sorrow. What is nowadays called gender dysphoria results in a self-hatred that makes her so desperate that she wants to escape life. She longs for a more tolerant world.
‘People often asked me: “Lou is it autobiographic?“ Jezus. Autobiographic? They should know!’
According to Reed, the underlying theme of Berlin was jealousy. Literary and musical qualities are inextricably united within Reed’s oeuvre. His lyrics highlight issues that are still relevant today, such as gender identity, sexuality and drug-related issues. Reed has always considered himself a writer who, to his regret, did not receive the appreciation he himself felt he deserved. Reed died in October 2013. The production Berlin [Synchronized] is dedicated to Lou Reed as an artist and poet.
Following ‘Berlin’, Reed would formulate an apology for his way of writing and considered for all the art that defies conventions.