Iggy Pop - vocals; Andy McCoy - guitar; Paul Garristo - drums; Alvin Gibbs - bass; Seamus Beaghen - keyboards
The man born as James Osterberg has been putting out records for over 30 years - first with The Stooges, and then as a solo artist. He's released masterpieces (Fun House) and pieces of well, you know (Zombie Birdhouse anyone?).
It has been a long and winding career that has taken many artistic directions, but through good and bad, drugged out and clean, long haired and short, one aspect of Iggy Pop's career has never wavered - the live show. The man has always given his all on stage (which often includes giving away all of his clothes before the night is through), throwing caution to the wind and his body into perpetual motion. Such honest, unbridled and unscripted energy has always been Pop's trademark, and one which prospers most in a live setting, as opposed to the more sterile studio recording environment. And it's precisely this quality that has given our hero such longevity. Think of it this way: most bands or singers play live so that you can hear the music you enjoy off their recent records. Iggy, however, works almost in the reverse. The live show isn't meant as a venue to play songs off a record; Pop essentially records songs to give himself new material to play live. After all, if a guy is going to jump around like a lunatic for 90 minutes, he needs new beats every now and then to keep it interesting.
This show was recorded at a very important time in Iggy's career. The early 1980s had not been kind to the godfather of punk. His last album, 1982's Zombie Birdhouse had flopped, and the years of drug and alcohol abuse were catching up to the now clean street walkin' cheetah. Iggy concentrated on getting himself in shape and even considered getting out of the music business entirely, taking up acting and showing up with bit parts in films like Sid and Nancy and The Color of Money. After a four-year hiatus, he finally felt ready to give it another go after writing some tunes with ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones, who help co-produce his "comeback" record - 1986's Blah Blah Blah.
While the album's artistic sensibilities and slick production were without a doubt a shock to the base of longtime Stooges fans, the songwriting quality and more accessible sound gave Iggy his best selling album ever. It was on the heels of this success that he set out on tour to sold out audiences across the country. One of those sold out shows took place at the legendary Ritz in New York City, in November of that year. The club isn't there anymore, so don't bother looking. But a who's-who of eighties celebs including Bowie, Paul Young, Rick James and Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs made the scene on this night, and the King Biscuit Flower Hour was there to record what was, in effect, Iggy's re-coming out party - a historical night in the career of a legend.
The show mixes old Stooges classics like "I Got a Right" and "Gimme Danger" with new favorites such as "Real Wild Child" and "Winners and Losers" and other Pop solo hits like "China Girl" and "Lust for Life." It is a fine portrait of the artist and where he was at this important juncture in his career, and now it's all yours for the listening. But while this recording does indeed offer a window into the rebirth of an icon, is also gives off something far more valuable - a live dose of raw fucking power.