Lou Reed

Phantom Animal

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Recorded live in Copenhagen on September 19th, 1973, this is a 72-minute set with a typical Reed concert set list of the time, mixing Velvet Underground classics like "Rock and Roll," "Sweet Jane," and "Heroin," with some of his better early solo works ("Satellite of Love," "Vicious," "Walk on the Wild Side," "Caroline Says"). Although the sound is pretty good for a bootleg, bear in mind that there are already two officially available live albums that cover live performances from about the same time (Rock 'n' Roll Animal, recorded three months later, and issued in early 1974) and slightly earlier (the excellent American Poet, from a December 1972 show). Though Phantom Animal dates from just nine months later than American Poet, Reed had already moved toward a notably more mainstream hard rock -oriented sound, even though most of the songs in the set are the same. The fidelity's not as good as American Poet or Rock 'n' Roll Animal; the mix is densely crunchy, and the vocals not of optimum clarity, though they're easily audible. And since Phantom Animal has just one song that doesn't appear on either of those other albums ("Oh Jim"), it's not something that most Reed fans will need. If you're one of those fans who loves to have more than you need, though, this certainly isn't a bad extra, documenting one more show from his early career in reasonable audio.