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41. Because Lou Reed Came to My Show

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Reed’s last portrait sitting, September 27, 2013.  

Lou Reed never retreated from the city’s music scene: He was often at shows—often with his wife, Laurie Anderson. Sometimes he came unannounced. For a musician, there was nothing quite like having him there. “He came to see the Fiery Furnaces play once at the Bowery Ballroom,” recalls singer Eleanor Friedberger. “I didn’t know he was going to be there; I just happened to look up, and there he was, leaning on the railing. I didn’t look back up. I was terrified!” Reed could be gruff, intimidating. The first time Moby shared a bill with him, “I was terrified, as I was meeting one of my heroes, and one of my heroes who was notorious for being mean to everyone. So I showed up convinced that Lou was going to yell at me and/or give me a withering stare. Instead, he was fun and gracious and kind.” Dean Wareham remembers that when Reed came to see Dean & Britta play, “we were performing 13 Most Beautiful … Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, and he was one of the screen-test subjects, and we were singing his song ‘Not a Young Man Anymore,’ and I was nervous to see Lou and Laurie sitting in the audience while simultaneously having his face on the big screen behind us.” (Reed later told Wareham he hadn’t seen the test since he’d sat for it in 1966.) Just last year, Reed joined Metric onstage at Radio City to perform their song “The Wanderlust.” “I was able to persuade him to sing ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ with me as well,” says singer Emily Haines. “And the memory of that night consoles me in his absence.”


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