The life of Lou Reed, New York City poet, singer and songwriter was celebrated with a memorial in Harlem at the historic Apollo Theatre on Monday night (12/16).
The show honoring the Velvet Underground frontman was organized by Reed’s management, and his widow Laurie Anderson.
The memorial took place 50 days after Lou Reed’s death on Oct. 27, Laurie Anderson explained, at the end of the 49 days of what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo, a transitional state after death.
The memorial gave witness to some of Lou’s notable friends/collaborators singing the songs of the Velvet Underground and his solo career plus reading or performing tributes to him, including Patti Smith and her bandmate Lenny Kaye, Antony Hegarty, Debbie Harry(of Blondie), Paul Simon, John Zorn, Philip Glass, former Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker, and others.
Maureen Tucker read a message from John Cale the keyboardist and violist that said, “Regardless of our differences, we never really drifted too far from what initially brought us together. I guess that’s what real friendship is, and I miss my friend.”
Patti Smith chose “Perfect Day” for what she called “Lou’s most poignant lyric”: “You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good.”
Laurie Anderson noted that her husband wrote songs in single bursts. “He would wake up in the middle of the night and just write the song down and it was complete,” she said. “He never changed a word. He thought, ‘First thought, best thought.’
“There was never a single doubt that we loved each other beyond anything else, from the time when we first met until the moment he died,” Laurie Anderson said. “Almost every day we said ‘you are the love of my life,’ or some version of that in one of our many private, and somewhat bizarre languages. We knew exactly what we had, and we were beyond grateful.”
(Pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan and the Lou Reed Website.)