This was quite a posh bash to celebrate the opening of yet another new music space in NYC. The venue, roughly the size of Bowery Ballroom, is a beautiful performance room with perfect sound, and was once home to clubs we’ve never stepped foot in, like Glo and Powder. Its name was inspired by Highline Park, coming soon to 16th St.. in the almost too-fabulous Meatpacking district.

Outfitted with stark, masculine décor in dark slate, leather, tile and wood grain finishes, Highline is owned by the BB Kings and Blue Note folks. Judging from tonight’s stately, older crowd, you may not be seeing bands like The Cribs or rip-em-up’ers Trail of Dead playing here anytime soon, but I could be wrong. It’s just that the space has got some class and it’s all so shiny and new. So far, Secret Machines, Amy Winehouse and the Pipettes are on the calendar.

The plush interior of Highline’s VIP balcony screams upscale clientele ordering bottle service. Hell, someone even had the astonishing idea of putting carpeting on the floor. I hope the owners also had the insight to purchase a house Stanley Steamer Carpet Cleaner. Spew doesn’t easily clean out of carpet with a mop.

LOU…our favorite curmudgeonly rock icon, played the opening of this spanking new ballroom. After a predictably long set up by his numerous stage minions, (which included a modelesque woman who resembled actress Victoria Principal, but with a braid almost down to her knees), Lou and band sauntered on stage. He looked every bit the dignified elder statesman of rock and roll, complete with his asymmetrical sleeveless tee probably selected for the occasion from a Japanese designer shop like Yohji Yamamoto. (When I am 65, I hope I have the toned arms needed to pull off such a t-shirt, Lou sure does). After a brief, godlike raising of the right hand, Lou says, “Once again, here we go,” and kicks into top tune “What’s Good.”

His comments throughout the set are so blunt and deadpan it’s comical. “Frank, there’s bass feedback,” commands Lou to his soundman, and the problem is instantly fixed. There was, oddly, smoke billowing from a fog machine at stage right. Ambience perhaps? Lou was quick to address this: “I didn’t stop smoking fifteen years ago to have a smoke machine on my stage…” The smoke is abruptly cleared away (that is, all except for the undercover pot smoke billowing up amongst the crowd).

I was still on the floor level when Lou played his 1989 single “The Last Great American Whale”, which starts off with some great lines like, “My mother said she saw him in Chinatown, but you can’t always trust your mother,” and turns grim, with a heady eco-political message that must have woken up the balcony audience with a start. Leave it to the downtown granddad of rock Lou Reed to add some meaningful grit to an otherwise glittery affair. –CD