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Music DVD Review: Iggy And The Stooges – Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans

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You’ve gotta’ hand it to the Ig-man. Even going on something like a hundred years old, the guy still puts it all — literally, at times — out there onstage.

By about the halfway point on this amazing document of the Stooges performing their classic 1973 Raw Power album at 2010’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, the shirtless Iggy’s pants are half falling down. Few men half his age could get away with this display of being half-naked before a crowd of mostly twenty-somethings young enough to be his grandchildren. But Iggy Pop is the sort of (amazingly) still living legend, who can be compared to even fewer mere mortal men.

In many ways, the career of Iggy Pop is the sort of happy accident that could have only been made possible back in the original, anything-goes days of rock and roll. Much of that original sense of danger is still present on Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans.

In fact, the only thing really separating this DVD from something like the great, though very raw, early seventies live Stooges semi-bootleg Metallic K.O. is the element of confrontation. On that recording, the “fans” can be heard pelting the stage with various projectiles like bottles (think of that scene in the Blues Brothers movie where Jake and Elwood play the shitkicker country bar). Back then, the Stooges were regarded mostly as an oddity, long before their revered present-day status as the punk-rock pioneers who paved the way for everyone from the Ramones and the Sex Pistols to latter day disciples like Nirvana.

But the other thing separating this DVD from those days, is the tight playing of the Stooges themselves. Guitarist James Williamson in particular plays his ass off here. The rhythm section of drummer Scott “Rock Action” Asheton and latter day convert Mike Watt on bass is likewise rock solid, making this modern day run-through of Raw Power something of a dream concert document.

The fact that the rest of the sixty-something Stooges are able to keep up with Iggy himself is nothing short of miraculous. The guy is a house of fire here, taking something of a breather only for a handful of relatively quieter songs during an otherwise breakneck set.

But the danger is still ever present as well, despite the fact that this crowd clearly worships at the altar of Iggy. He is still doing the long standing bit of inviting the entire crowd up onstage for one thing. The last time I saw Iggy do that was during a show at Seattle’s Showbox Theatre. At that late seventies concert, the crowd tipped the amps over, people got hurt, and the show was stopped. Iggy was subsequently banned from playing in Seattle for several years after.

On Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans, this sort of interactive experience with the fans extends to the DVD itself. Here, six fans were selected to film the concert and interview the band, after winning a contest where they submitted their own homemade videos vying for the privilege.

The extras here include those original video entries, as well as the post-concert interviews. What is most eye-opening about these backstage one-on-one interactions, is just how calm and articulate Iggy is himself, while answering the fans questions (as opposed to his onstage persona as an out-of-control, completely unhinged wildman).

His answers are equally interesting. During one exchange, Iggy calls the doo-wop classic “Sea Cruise” the template for his own song “Death Trip” (as in “c’mon baby, let me take you on a…death trip”). Other extras include promos for the contest featuring Iggy and original Dictators frontman “Handsome” Dick Manitoba(!).

But the real draw here is the concert itself. In addition to the entire Raw Power album (which is interestingly performed out of its original sequence), the Stooges rip through a frenetic set including punk classics like “I Wanna’ Be Your Dog” and “No Fun.”

This is a great DVD, and one best played loud enough to piss off the neighbors.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    now the stooges are his backing band? lame

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    They are very much still a “band” in the traditional sense, but they have been billed as Iggy And The Stooges going back at least as far as Raw Power. When you have a frontman like Iggy Pop, it’s pretty obvious that he is going to be the focal point as far as selling tickets goes. But yeah, very much still a “band,” and a damned good one too.

    -Glen

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    When they reunited, they were just going by The Stooges, but apparently after Ron’s death Iggy changed it

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    The band with Ron (responsible for albums like Fun House) was in fact the Stooges. The one with Williamson (the Raw Power band) was just as widely known as Iggy And The Stooges. So the name change is appropriate.

    -Glen

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    I highly doubt there were people who passed on the reunited Stooges but are now interested because Iggy’s name is now out front. And it would be a nice way to honors Ron memory. Is IGGY FAQ next?

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    LOL…no Iggy FAQ is planned, at least for now.

    I could be wrong, but I think the idea behind the “name change” is to distinguish between the original Stooges (with Ron) and the Raw Power-era band (with James)…which is the version 2.0 out there currently performing.

    Anyway, isn’t this kind of a “you say tomato, I say…” argument?

    Interestingly, the one time Iggy acknowledges the band name on the DVD, he simply says “we’re the Stooges.” So, there ya’ go…

  • JC Mosquito

    Glen is technically correct – just plain Stooges when Ron played lead; I&TS on Raw Power when James W steps in.

    Furthermore – I’m pretty sure he’s actually called Iggy Stooge on the back of the first album.

    Tomatoes? I’m pretty sure it was mostly beer bottles and light bulbs on Metallic KO. I would still like to hear from Tom Petty’s utility fielder Scott Thurston about the days when he played with Iggy on Metallic KO, or even the work he did on New Values. I don’t think I’ve ever hear or seen him talk about those days.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Verification is verification. I’ll take it in any case. Thanx JC.

    -Glen

  • Rufus

    The different versions of the Stooges are billed exactly as they always have been. Anyone interested in further reading is advised to check out Paul Trynka’s definitive “Open Up and Bleed.” Long live (Iggy &) the Stooges, the best band ever!