With word that Lou Reed has passed away I not only remember Lou Reed, but I remember a trip to Normandy, France.
On a post I wrote a couple of years ago, I mentioned how a scholarship in college to study World War II in Normandy, France began my love of international travel. I was already bitten with the adventure bug having hiked, canoed, and skied all over the Midwest and the eastern United States with my Dad.
The Normandy Scholarship was the second time I had been out of the country. The first was a trip to Venezuela during my second year in college. The trip to Normandy allowed for me to study for a month in France and then travel for a month in Europe before flying home.
It just so happened that U2 was playing in Paris just after our study period was over. I bought a ticket as did a few fellow classmates for $44.00. It was the Zoo TV Tour and it was 1993. U2 was on top of the world still basking in the success of Achtung Baby released in 1991.
I was pleased that the tour featured a reunited Velvet Underground as an opening act. I had just started to become interested in this group as I had a roommate who had a CD, and we listened to tracks like Heroine, Sweet Jane, and I am Waiting for my Man.
Despite this band being way before my time, I was a classic rock fiend. Not only did I listen to the music, I also studied the groups, members, and history of my favorite genre. I did not know much about the band except that its lead singer was Lou Reed who was famous for the song Walk on the Wild Side.
The show was outside at the Hippodrome-de-Vincennes, which was actually located outside of Paris. We took the Paris Metro to basically the end of the line. I was there with five other students from my scholarship class from the University of Tennessee.
Velvet Underground sounded fantastic and played all of their big songs that I had been listening to in my apartment room at school. We were able to maneuver our way into a good standing area to see the band. Lou Reed’s voice sounded just like it did in the 1960s and 1970s and they put on a great show. Listen to the classic song Heroine below at the show I saw. If you listen close you might even hear me cheering from 20 years ago.
Then U2 took the stage. U2 paid homage to Lou Reed by playing a cover of his great solo tune Satellite of Love. Lou Reed sang with Bono on the chorus although he did not actually join him on stage. His giant head appeared on the jumbotron singing the famous chorus “Sattttelllliiitttte of Love.”
After the show was over we discovered the Metro had stopped operating for the night. We were in a quandary as we were miles away from our hotel with no way to get back. To make matters worse, we got separated from the rest of our group. A girl I was seeing in the program, and I walked towards Paris. When we first started walking there was an arrow that pointed in our direction with “Paris” written on it. It is scary when you have to walk to the center of a major city, and you are not actually in the city proper yet.
We tried to grab a cab, but there were thousands of others walking into Paris and every cab was taken. It was crazy. We ended up walking over 4 hours back into the middle of the city.
My friends who we got separated from ended up sleeping in a park. They then grabbed the first Metro in the morning back into town. I was told that several other tired stranded souls cheered the first Metro train at 5:30 a.m. The last one ran at 12:30. It is important to note if you are in Paris that the Metro does not run all night.
I am paying homage to the great Lou Reed with this post. Word came out that he passed away yesterday at the age of 71. He is gone, but his music and influence will live for ages. In two weeks I will be hiking the Big South Fork along the Kentucky and Tennessee border. As I enter the woods, I like Bono and U2 will pay homage to Lou Reed by singing his song. I will sing “hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,” as I hit the trail.
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I feel terrible that I don’t even know who this man is or his band! Off to youtube now!!!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Las Vegas, Nevada: Day 3
I am sure you have heard a few of his songs, especially “Take a walk on the Wild Side.”
A great musician goes on to the wildest side!
Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..The Ottoman Ruler’s Residence: Topkapı Palace
Yep, safe travels on your wild journey Lou!
Sad news, that, the passing of Lou. He was one of the best, and will always be remembered as such. Consider yourself lucky you got to go to such an amazing show.
Jason’s Travels recently posted..Evening on the Las Vegas Strip
Very true Jason. It was complete luck too. I love it when things work out like this on your travels.
RIP Lou Reed. How awesome that you got to see him and U2 in Paris?! Definitely memorable for many reasons.
Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted..Could we be the very first #GwOGuestTester Family?
When I heard the bad news, the first thing I thought of was this show. Definitely lucky to see U2 anywhere, but in Paris with a band just as incredible opening up was sublime (not the band sublime, but the feeling 🙂
A Agree with you
Hami Jee recently posted..Alfalah Scholarships Scheme Form – Apply Online
A very nice tribute and a good walk down memory lane. I can’t believe that you walked four hours through the night to get back to Paris. Well, as a man that just ran a marathon, maybe I can. Keep the memories flowing.
Captain and Clark recently posted..Croatia through food
I was pretty darn sore and tired when I got to the hotel at like 4 a.m. It was not a pleasant ending to a great night, but now the memory just adds to the priceless experience of the whole evening. Funny how time has a way of erasing bad memories and making them positive.
how awful! that is one longggg walk! im glad the concert was amazing though! and i suppose it was a sign because after all you did just willingly decide to run four hours through chicago! 😉
lola dimarco recently posted..A City Experience & Country Escape in the UK with @FourSeasons
Difference was the run was expected and there was training for it. I was not prepared to walk 4 hours especially after standing for just as many hours watching the show. There were no seats at the arena. It was standing room only. My back is sore thinking about it.
Cool tribute and trip down memory lane. 🙂
Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..A Little London Love.
Always fun to reminisce about travel, but sad for the reason on this occasion.
Nicely said and as a rock and roll lover, I can appreciate how R&R touches aspects of the world that most don’t even recognize. |m|
There is a huge emotional aspect to music, which differentiates the good musicians from the average. Lou was definitely in the former class and will be missed.
You can’t beat memories of seeing great musicians play in a great city. I somehow didn’t know about your scholarship trip, how cool that you went!
Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo(s) of the Week: Fall in the Chicago Botanic Garden
This was a long time ago. I don’t think internet even existed then 🙂
I’m listening to your Lou Reed clip as I type this. He was a great musician. Believe it or not but my 7-year-old son loves Lou Reed. I’m fortunate to have a kid who appreciates great music. That’s a great memory to cherish for two reasons: the concert and the walk. I’m not sure what I would’ve done in a similar situation. My wife, as a college student would’ve made me wait for a cab. I would’ve loved the challenge of the walk, as long as I had walking partners.
Trips By Lance recently posted..Hotel Cascada: A Comfortable Albuquerque Option
Most children do enjoy their parents music at that age and then rebel in their teens, but then come back to their musical senses later.
nice weave of past, present and future in this post – poetic. really poetic. something Lou Reed would be proud of… have a great hike on the wild side, a place or side it seems you spend more time on then not.
stay wild, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..Sunset Sunday-A Sunset in Marathon, New York
Yes, Chiang Mai = wild, so you know I am there.
How cool that you got to see him in Paris. And love that you still have the photo of your ‘then’ lady. Still in touch?
@mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A fun girls weekend in LA, California-style
hahaha mrs. o, we love you. same thoughts. spill the deets, tedward!
the lazy travelers recently posted..foodie break: felice 83
No, that relationship soured after we got back to the states, but still a good memory.