• Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans

    Released by:
    Released on: September 27, 2011

    Director: Joey Carey

    Cast: of Iggy Pop, Scott Asheton, James Williamson, Steve Mackay, Mike Watt

    Year: 2010

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    The Movie:

    In 2010 a contest was held in which contestants were encouraged to film themselves asking whatever question they wanted of Iggy & The Stooges for a chance to win the opportunity to film the band live in concert at their bands September 3, 2010 headlining performance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival held in upstate New York. Six winners were chosen – Britt Clardy, Nick Esposito, Matt Goldman, Steve Schmidt, Edwin Samuelson and Amy Verdon – and the end result is an interesting document of one of the last shows of the 2010 tour and one in which they were going to perform every single track off of their seminal 1973 release, Raw Power. The lineup for the show comprised of Iggy Pop on vocals, Scott Asheton on drums, James Williamson on guitar, Steve Mackay on saxophone and Mike Watt handling bass chores and the resulting live video is pretty impressive so long as you don’t mind the rough and sometimes inconsistent look of the footage.

    With six different people shooting the show, presumably with six different cameras of varying quality, it stands to reason that some shots look better than others. Case in point, there was a camera at the front of the stage that looks to have been handheld, so those shots don’t have the same sort of stability as those that were shot from the stage or with a tripod. In the context of what director Joey Carey was likely going for, however, this actually works and it suits the bands’ barely controlled insanity rather well. Is it as good as being there would have been? Of course not but it has an energy to it

    Now in his mid-sxities, Iggy still sings with all the fire and ferocity he had in his early years and he’s backed by a veritable war machine as the band pummel the audience along with him. He might not bend over backwards and smear himself with broken glass and peanut butter anymore but he’s still prone to cursing up a storm and antagonizing the audience and the band alike – a perfect example is when he asks both the band and the audience if they’re ‘ready for some FUCKING blues’ (the emphasis is there on purpose) before busting into I Need Somebody. All eight tracks from the original Raw Power album are here (though not in the same order as they are on that album) and performed with all the piss and vinegar you could want and the recording does a good job of capturing as much energy as you can realistically expect it to, and the band work in a few other tracks into the set as well:

    Raw Power / Search and Destroy / Gimme Danger / Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell / Shake Appeal / I Need Somebody / Penetration / Death Trip / 1970 (I Feel Alright) / Night Theme / Beyond the Law / I Got A Right / I Wanna Be Your Dog / Open Up And Bleed / Fun House /No Fun

    Not surprisingly, Iggy is the main focal point here. While the backing band are all talented musicians and incredibly important to the sound that The Stooges create, Iggy is so fired up here that you’ll have trouble taking your eyes off of him. Perhaps the other band members know this, which would explain their rather quiet stage presence – they let the music talk for them and let the quality of their playing speak for itself while Iggy coils himself up like a snake, leaps across the stage and jumps into the crowd. Age doesn’t seem to be a factor here, and the band put on a killer show.


    The AVC encoded 1080i high definition video is presented in 1.78.1 widescreen and it looks as good as you can expect it to given the conditions under which it was shot. This isn’t meant to look like a pristine, high gloss presentation and it doesn’t, but it does feature fairly good detail (which varies quite obviously depending on which camera is on screen at any given time) and nice colors, particularly the purples that bathe the stage thanks to the venue’s lighting. Skin tones look pretty natural and detail is okay, all things considered, in the close up shots if not particularly mind blowing in medium and long distance shots. It’s pretty hard to complain about this, really – despite some compression artifacts, some edge enhancement and ringing that probably stems back to the source material. As it was taken from a purely digital source, there are no issues with print damage to note. Stooges fans should be pleased and it seems obvious that this Blu-ray release offers a stronger image than the DVD (also available from MVD) is likely able to provide, though honestly this is a disc you'll want more for the performance than the video quality.

    The LPCM 2.0 Stereo track is a solid one, with some great left to right separation up front and a strong, solid low end coming from the rhythm section anchoring the performance, though the Dolby Digital 5.1 track occasionally adds some nice fills in the rear channels to open things up a bit more. The lossless track, however, is definitely the way to go. Williamson’s dirty guitar sound comes through perfectly and Iggy’s vocals, which run the gamut from low, almost baritone crooning in tracks like Gimme Danger to high pitched yelping in Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell come through perfectly. We get just enough audience noise here to remind us it’s all going down live but not so much as to take away from the band’s tightly wound sound. This is good stuff through and through.

    Extras start off with a forty-four minute featurette in which the six contestant winners get to go backstage with the three core members (Watt isn’t here nor is Mackey) to ask them the questions that they posed in their contest entries. Iggy is just as animated and manic here as you’d want him to be with Asheton and Williamson taking a backseat to Iggy’s storytelling as they cover their influences, their thoughts on the album’s enduring legacy, cover versions of their songs, what it was like recording Raw Power in the first place and how the band has evolved over the years. It’s not something that the casual fan is necessarily going to geek out over but Stooges fanatics will certainly appreciate this as it is quite informative.

    Also included on the disc are twelve minutes worth of the contestants’ initial Contest Submission Videos – this is basically clips of the six winners asking their questions to their camera that they would then ask of the band during the formal interview. Some fun promo spots featuring Iggy Pop and the handsomest man in rock n roll, Handsome Dick Manitoba, round out the disc’s supplements though inside the keepcase is a full color booklet of liner notes from Mike Watt that are written in sort of a rough stream of consciousness style in which he talks about how his leg injury affected his performance and what it was like playing this shot. Some color photographs off the band in action and with the contest winners courtesy of Bob Gruen are also included here.

    The Final Word:

    The rough and tumble look and feel of the footage captured here does a great job of bringing you into the performance and putting you ‘in the zone’ so to speak. MVD’s Blu-ray release looks good and sounds even better and includes a few decent extras as well. Stooges fans will definitely want to check this one out.

    Click on the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!