This midline/budget package duplicates the contents of Lou Reed Live. Reed is captured December 21, 1973, from the same Academy of Music performance that yielded the arguably better-balanced Rock 'n' Roll Animal (released in 1974). Granted, the road band could never replicate the finesse of the all-star aggregate on the Berlin studio disc; however, the assembled combo of Ray Colcord (keyboards), Pentti Glan (drums), Steve Hunter (guitar), Dick Wagner (guitar), and fresh from a stint with Funkadelic, John Prakash (bass) do an admirable job. Fascinatingly, the collection opens with the evening's encore, a practically metallic "Vicious," replete with blatantly overdubbed audience response. The remaining half-hour adopts the drugged-out persona that Reed's music outwardly conveyed, split between favorites and the lengthy and edgy renditions of Berlin-related titles "Oh Jim" and "Sad Song." The former is a highlight with the double-lead electric fretwork of Hunter and Wagner fanning the flames of an already scintillating and earthy analysis. "I'm Waiting for the Man" loses the manic garage feel of earlier interpretations, taking on a proto-disco visage that is effective in its decidedly funky and loose approach. "Satellite of Love" shines as an example of the diversity inherent in Reed's songwriting. While at times the gilded melody borders on pop, there is no mistaking the included workout for anything other than rock & roll. Just exactly why the powers that be decided to release Lou Reed Live under the "extended versions" and "encore collection" monikers is a mystery as the original is readily available.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer