"On an otherwise excruciatingly literal night—the album was “depressing,” therefore the audience would remain still and somber throughout; when the Brooklyn Youth Chorus chorused “No, no, no!” they would also shake their heads, no, no, no—the only break in the mood was Julian Schnabel’s set, a perplexing creation of Japanese screens in pale orange, yellow, and cream, set off by a fifteen-foot couch hanging vertically from the ceiling. Reed riffed on the otherwise inviolate solemnity, capping an extended guitar rave with a resigned shrug: “Oh, back into the land of depression now.”The Rolling Stone's David Fricke felt more upbeat about the revisionist spectacle,
"On December 14th, thirty-three years after the album's release, Reed opened a sold-out four-night stand at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, performing the whole of Berlin live for the first time, with full orchestration and atmospheric stage direction by Julian Schnabel. The story still thrills as it repels: the way Reed, with a poet's ear and a reporter's eye and no intruding moral comment, renders both artificial ecstasies (booze, speed, reckless sex) and real-life horror (beatings, blood on the sheets).My favorite song on the album seems to have been hailed as a triumphant antidote to the wrist-splitting doom,"And when he got to "Caroline Says II," Reed offset the escalating violence and emotional collapse with a tenderness, in the music and his singing, that made it a love song in all but the bruises."
But the most astonishing thing about hearing Berlin live was the greatest-hits glow of the songs. The arrangements, which sounded muted and crowded on the album's original, flimsy RCA pressing, bloomed in 3-D"
[ARTFORUM Diary, Rolling Stone]