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Iggy & The Stooges | Live in Detroit | review | dvd | Lollipop
Iggy & The Stooges
Live in Detroit (MVD)
By Brian Varney
Reunion tours are rarely a good idea. You more or less know the drill: Mega-popular '60s/'70s band reunites to play their old songs in a huge arena for an astronomical ticket price. Such shows are almost always underwhelming, completely devoid of surprises as the band members, who probably haven't spoken or been in the same room for twenty years and thus no longer have any musical kinship with one another, play it safe by sticking to the songs you could probably hear twenty times a day just by tuning into your town's classic rock station.
For these and a couple of other reasons, I was very apprehensive about the idea of The Stooges reunion shows. See, The Stooges are perhaps my favorite rock band ever, so I suppose part of me doesn't want to see anything that will soil their greatness. To be fair, though, there are many differences between The Stooges and, say, the umpteenth Who reunion tour. The Stooges were never popular in their day (Fun House sold 2,000 copies when it was released), but their reputation has grown tremendously over the years, and they are now at the point where a very large percentage of their fanbase never got to see them live, and since precious little live footage of this original lineup survives, all we can do is imagine.
So it was with all of this rampaging through my mind that I finally played this DVD. To my great surprise and immense pleasure, I forgot about all that shit almost immediately once the band tore into "Loose." There's no mistaking these guys for the original Stooges - everyone looks older and different, and that's Mike Watt playing bass, but this is a fucking great show. The prospect of a group of guys who have since become fairly good musicians going back to revisit the moronically simple Stooges stuff has all kinds of potential for badness, but they wring the same existential frustration out of these songs as ever, and when Steve Mackay (the guy who played the sax on side two of Fun House) shows up and starts honking, well, I wouldn't insult ya if you thought this was a long-lost tape of the original band.
There are also a couple of cool bonus features on the DVD, the best of which is the chatty, informal in-store gig which is sort of The Stooges equivalent of the sit-down portion of Elvis's '68 Comeback special, with lots of talking about the songs, the band's history, etc. in between a scaled-down but still captivating performance.
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