Sunday, June 27, 2010

Violent Femmes in Berlin, 1992

Tom Phillips has just published a really nice short essay on the Violent Femmes over at Eyewear, and it made me remember my one VF concert. It was at the Waldbühne in Berlin in the summer of 1992, and the show opened with Lyle Lovett knocking me out with his wonderful "Church":

I went to church last Sunday, so I could sing and pray,
and something quite unusual happened on that day.

Then came Bonnie Raitt, and then the Femmes. I don't remember their set very well, but I remember being very impressed by their energy and power; as when I saw REM a few years earlier, I was surprised by how much "harder" their sound was live than in the studio.

The highlight was in Lou Reed's set, when he brought out Bonnie Raitt and the Femmes' Gordon Gano to be the "colored girls" on "Walk on the Wild Side," and then he let Gordon sing the second verse. But before he began singing, Gordon said, in pretty good German, "Erst möchte ich sagen: Lou Reed, er ist geil, ja?" ("First just let me say: Lou Reed, he's cool, isn't he?") And then Gordon sang that second verse, and it was a shock to hear Lou's half-talking, half-singing replaced by the beautiful voice of a former choir boy.

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