Monday , October 26 2020
You've gotta hand it to the Ig-man.

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

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.

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, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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