Although the 1973 release of Berlin was not an all-out success, Lou Reed, inimitable rock singer-songwriter and co-founder of the legendary Velvet Underground, has breathed new life into the record. In 2006, he performed Berlin at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, with accompaniment from Steve Hunter (guitarist on the original release), a seven-piece orchestra, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
Berlin is a tragic rock opera that explores the morass of life at its lowest points, set in one of the world’s most divided cities seen through the eyes of a drug-addled couple doomed to bypass happiness. Character studies of lovely Caroline and tragic Jim are spliced and layered upon a backdrop of scenes of city life. Through dense orchestral formations, Reed confronts the realities of depression, addiction, and the tension that fuels wayward decisions in this shimmering and devastating performance.