REVIEW

 

IGGY POP and DAVID BOWIE
Rainbow Theatre 1977 [no label 1CD Torrent 99901]
Live at Rainbow Theatre, London, March 5 or 7?, 1977. VG AUD stereo. Final track has tape warp.

The opening night in Aylesbury notwithstanding, two nights at the London Rainbow in March 1977 marked Iggy Pop’s first live performances since the death of the Stooges three years before, and his first UK gigs since 1972. Even the presence of David Bowie as an unobtrusively chainsmoking pianist couldn’t have raised the demand for tickets any higher, and Pop rewarded the ensuing full houses with a performance that matched every description of his stagecraft the audience had ever dreamed of.

Okay, so there was no onstage bloodletting, no graceful swan dives from the top of the speaker stacks, no danse macabre with oozing candle wax. But the possibility of all those things hung heavy over Iggy’s every action, and this mildly murky, but never less than thrilling audience recording catches the sound of a crowd on the edge of its seats, and Pop on the edge of insanity.

The set is oldies heavy. The still-to-be-released The Idiot album is only touched upon (most memorably by a sinister "Fun Time" and a seething "Sister Midnight"); in its place, the opening "Raw Power" is followed by a blistering "TV Eye," a lascivious "Loose," a frenetic "1969"… you can run out of superlatives with a show like this, but the band not only hit the expected highs, they even ushered in a few brand new numbers. "Turn Blue" and "Tonight," neither of which would hit vinyl until Lust For Life, later in the year, were premiered, while "Gimme Danger" spiraled and "No Fun" glowered, and Bowie smoked and smoked and smoked, scarcely able to believe that this was actually happening. "I Need Somebody," "Search And Destroy," "I Wanna Be Your Dog"… this might just be the most perfect set list Pop has ever played. It’s certainly one of the best concert discs in his catalog. - Dave Thompson

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September 21, 2007