1977 - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)
"Lavish" and Easy Action are synonymous - as the latest box set of raw power from the Pop attests. Ya gets four discs in long box format, derived from live shows and studio outtakes (mostly) by the band that recorded "The Idiot". There's also a booklet written by Kris Needs. Not only an important documentation of a man full of piss and bad manners and on the comeback trail, but an ideal gift for the obsessive Ig-fan in your life.
Three-quarters of "1977" is previously unreleased, the exception being a September 23 Paris Hippodrome show that's been re-mastered (the original tape being a little harsher.) Iggy and band runs through most of "The Idiot" with "The Passenger", "CC Rider" and "That's How Strong My Love Is" thrown in for good measure. More than listenable even if you're not the biggest fan of the album the tour was promoting, if only for the fact "Party" was still to be recorded. Dig those dinky synth effects.
Disc Two compiles a radio show and Iggy interview with front-ended alternate versions of "Tiny Girls", "China Girl", "Dum Dum Boys" and "Baby". These are neither better or worse than the originals (unless you're into analysing the impact of excessive cocaine use on human hearing during mixdowns.) At a guess, you'd think Ig's interview was probably similarly influenced as he comes across as terribly self-important, while the 33-minute radio show - contrastingly - shows off his band to great effect.
Disc Three is from the March gig at the Rainbow in London with the band just hitting its straps, by all accounts. This is totally unreleased and yes, the line-up includes the Thin White Puke on backing vocals and keyboards. There's a strong reliance on Stoogetunes to break the ice and, sonically speaking, there's a bit of clipping and distortion evident, but on balance it's a great representation of how the band must have sounded in the flesh. Curiously, the set-closing "China Girl" is drawn out to about 7mins, which for mine is about 4 minutes too long.
The last disc comes from Berlin in September '77 and finds Stacey Heydon replacing Ricky Gardiner on guitar and Bowie no longer on the tour due to recording commitments of his own. This is easily the best sounding of the live material and the set list is now further studded with "Lust For Life" songs. Just nine numbers over 42 minutes but a nice, tight set - with the exception of "I Got a Right" where the energy levels seem at odds with the original recording.
Everyone will have their favourite Iggy era (recording wise, Stooges apart, I'm in for "New Values") and this collection will probably have its greatest resonance in Europe where "The Idiot" and "Lust For Life" sold the most. Just don't hold off before taking the plunge and whacking down your hard-earned - it's a strictly limited edition of 1000 copies worldwide. Leaves the major label "TV Eye" live album for dead.