Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anderson and Reed do Yellow Pony in Manchester

Update : Warning : if you believe the Guardian music critic, I don't know what I'm talking about.


I was waiting in the bar of the Palace Theatre in Manchester, idly people-watching and this guy took the empty seat at my table and said "Have you ever seen Lou Reed before ?" I had to confess I hadn't and it got a bit awkward because in truth I didn't know his work well at all.

I was there to see Laurie Anderson whose albums "Big Science" and "United States Live" were a regular background to my brave fight with university Mathematics.

Look up Laurie Anderson and marvel at all the different genres people attempt to confine her to. Art Rock ? Avant-Pop ? Transethnicism ? I actually prefer her own term : "Difficult Listening Hour".

She's best known for "O Superman" - a track that (the more missed each day) John Peel helped to unlikely, improbable chart success in the UK in the early '80s. Spoken poetry over an electronic backing from an idea by Massenet really shouldn't be so popular. That said, while she was #2 on the charts, #3 was The Tweets "The Birdie Dance", so there was obviously something in the water at that time.

The pieces that were hers on the "Yellow Pony" show were clever, stimulating and technically brilliant. Lou Reed's pieces were human and emotional and man, can he play a guitar.

The real treat though were the pieces where you had no idea if it was one of hers or one of his. Where two unique talents mingle and where the result could not have been created by any single human.

So many sounds, so many words - I have no idea where to start to explain, so I will leave it unsaid.

It was chuffing good though. Possibly the best performance by an over-60s married couple the world has ever known.

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