Lou Reed "Animal Serenade"

Has anyone heard "Animal Sernade," Lou Reed's "follow-up" to "Rock and Roll Animal"? I must say, as far as Lou Reed live albums go, I'm pretty impressed. I wasn't expecting much when I picked it up--at best, I was hoping for a competent live album--but it easily surpassed my expectations. Whatever brand mineral water Lou was drinking when this show was recorded, they should try to bottle it. It's a MUCH different affair than "Rock and Roll Animal." Featuring his core band of Mike Rathke and Fernando Saunders (bolstered by various instrumentalists), it's largely reserved and somber, with a few squawks of feedback thrown in to keep people on their toes. But it posseses an emotional depth that RARA, which was essentially a "party" record, can't hope to match. There are some great moments here, including a positively haunting version of "Candy Says," sung by backup singer Antony, and a kicking "Dirty Blvd." Overall, the song selection is very generous and eclectic (20 tracks spread over two discs), and the performances are uniformly excellent, with Lou displaying a vitality and enthusiasm that I haven't heard him show on a live record in a while. This being Audio Asylum, I should probably comment on the sonics. Put simply, they're in-f*&%ing-credible. This is bound to be a demo disc in more than a few showrooms. Lou has always been fussy about the sound quality of his records, but he's outdone himself on this one. Awesome. Personally, I don't understand some of the scathing reviews this album has received in the press. I consider it one of his very best live albums--and, in some ways, it might be *the* best.