Soldier Field 1970 [no label 1CD Torrent #101045]
Live in Chicago, IL, July 18, 1970. Sourced from the CD-R of the master reel-to-reel tape. VG AUD stereo.

The legend is louder than either of the bands, but the inexcusable absence of any authentic record of the Stooges in concert, prior to the death dance of 1973-1974, nevertheless renders this an essential acquisition, even if you will NOT be listening to it very often.

Opening with "Loose," the Stooges portion of the disc starts badly, the band a barely audible insect buzzing behind a frontman who seems to spend as much time off-mike than on. But you can sense how exciting this would sound if you could actually hear it properly and, as the sound begins to pick up, the remainder of the show is a Funhouse fan’s delight - "Down On The Street," "1970," "LA Blues" and a "Fun House" that lurches out of "Shadow Of Your Smile."

It’s still muddy as hell, and the occasional tape glitch only adds to the discomfort. But there are worse sounding documents of the later band floating around out there, and what would you rather hear? Another nth generation slash through "Cock In My Pocket"? Or the original Asheton/Asheton/Alexander axis bulldozing through a locomotive "1970," with a solo slicing the top of audience’s heads off, before Steve Mackay stirs up their brains with his sax?

The MC5 set is no cleaner-sounding and is, in fact, even harder to get through - particularly when Kramer hits the high notes, and becomes indistinguishable from the high-pitched whistle which is now wandering around at the top of your hearing range. Six short, sharp bursts of noise are fun enough, but there’s never been a shortage of live 5 material, and this isn’t one of their better shows. Keep this for the Stooges, and pray that a better quality copy emerges some day. - Dave Thompson

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October 26, 2007