Vivid Sydney 2010

In Documentary Photography, Music Photography

Lou Reed speaks at the press conference to launch Vivid Live

The Sydney Opera House decked out in a design by Laurie Anderson

The next couple of weeks i’ll be photographing a number of things for the Vivid Sydney festival which kicked off with the illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails last Thursday.

Guests on the balcony of the Overseas Passenger Terminal at the Vivid Sydney launch party

The Vivid launch party was sprinkled with models from 'Australia's Next Top Model' who were being filmed for the show

Japanese band Boris were the first act to perform at Vivid Live, the musical component of Vivid curated by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson.

Lou Reed speaks at the press conference to launch Vivid Live

Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson held a press conference to launch Vivid Live. Laurie was charismatic and charming and despite a reputation for being very prickly with the press, Lou was relatively congenial.

Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed
Inside the sail, guests mingle in the Opera House foyer
Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio
Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio

Last night Lou Reed unleashed his Metal Machine Trio on the Opera House audience. The improvised noise performance is based on his 1975 album Metal Machine Music. Music critic Lester Bangs called it, “the greatest record ever made in the history of the human eardrum.”

But perhaps a more common reaction at the time was from a 1979 Rolling Stone appraisal, “a two-disc set consisting of nothing more than ear-wrecking electronic sludge, guaranteed to clear any room of humans in record time.”

The performance last night almost seemed to offer such a challenge to the audience – do you dare sit through the meandering and deafening feedback noise with no songs, melody or vocal?

I left after snapping for about ten minutes and was met by a number of people already leaving who evidently couldn’t bare it any longer. One woman remarked that it made her feel physically sick.

I only wish it provoked such a visceral reaction in me. I was simply bored.

Lou Reed performs with Metal Machine Trio

There’s plenty more accessible/enjoyable performances on offer for the rest of Vivid Live.

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