Click here to return to the main site.

Music Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Lou Reed's Berlin


Artist: Lou Reed
Artificial Eye
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 27 October 2008

There are moments and records, which define turning point in our lives, for me it was the release of Lou Reed's 1973 Berlin album. Already reviewed as a DVD you can understand my excitement to get my hands on the Blu-ray version.

For those who do not know, Berlin got such a critical kicking that the album was never again played in its entirety, although a number of the tracks would turn up on live albums. Finally director Julian Schnabel (Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly) succeeded in persuading Lou to perform the whole thing as like many of that generation the album spoke to him on a level that few had been able.

Berlin, is not for the fainthearted as, like his earlier work with the Velvets, it takes a walk on the dark side of life and love - telling the story of Caroline and Jim, whose love affair turns sour, with violence, drink and drugs, until the authorities are finally forced to take her children away. With little left to live for, Caroline takes her own life. It’s a simple story, powerfully told. Given that the previous album had been Transformer, a light, frothy, commercial number, critic’s were stunned. Mind you we hadn’t yet arrived at a double album of feedback, the monster that was Metal Machine Music - always a good one to clear a party.

As the concert has been reviewed as a DVD I’ll look at the differences between that and the Blu-ray and, sad to say, that I’m not sure that there are enough differences to warrant getting the Blu-ray, especially if you have an upscaler. The concert was a little grainy on the DVD and remains so on the Blu-ray - a product of the way it was filmed. You get a scene selection where you can jump to the individual songs.

On the plus side the disc comes with a Lossless DTS master Audio 5.1 track as well as the lesser Dolby Digital 5.1, the whole thing really does shine on the Lossless and would is the main selling point of the Blu-ray; it certainly would not be the extras, which include a single trailer, two and a half pages of biography for Lou and a page and a half for Schnabel and that’s it. No interview with Lou discussing the album and nothing from Schnabel about his passion for the songs.

As a concert it still remains a must have for Lou Reed fans, but unless you have a good sound system I’d seriously consider just going for the cheaper DVD. The disc does nothing to show off Blu-ray as a format and its lack of extras make it an expensive alternative to the DVD.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£17.98 (
£17.99 (
£17.99 (
£17.99 (
£19.99 (
£21.24 (
£17.97 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.