I was incredibly sad when I heard that Lou Reed had died. I know that he had been ill, that he had had a liver transplant, but it never really registered that he could die. It felt like Lou had survived so damn much, he had to be invincible.
I was driving on 94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul when his death was announced on The Current, our local alternative rock station. The next day someone had hung a huge, homemade RIP LOU REED banner on one of the footbridges across 94. I wish I had a picture of it.
Lou and I go way back. I first discovered Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground when I was in high school. The songs! They were loud, angry, sarcastic. Kind of like me at the time.
Lou gave me something besides a bad attitude, though. In 1992, when Magic and Loss came out, I was volunteering at an AIDS foster care home where I helped take care of people who were dying. I had moved to Minnesota a few years earlier, not too long after my father died from cancer.
I was pretty broke in 1992, but Lou Reed was one of the handful of artists that I will find some way to see when they're in town, come hell or high water. He was at the Orpheum in Minneapolis - pricey stuff, but worth it. We managed to get tickets before it sold out (lousy seats, though).
Lou looked and sounded fantastic. He played Magic and Loss from start to finish, and then played cuts from New York and Songs for Drella. It was an awesome show, and it will forever be known as The Show That Made Andrea Cry. Magic and Loss is a sad album. It's also a really angry album. Seeing and hearing the songs played brought back the all of my sadness, hurt, regret, and anger from seeing lots of people die too soon, my father included. Up until the point, I really didn't feel like anyone else understood how I was feeling. But Lou did. He got it.