Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Iggy Pop - Live 1988 Boston – King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents

Iggy Pop
Live 1988 Boston – King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents

Released 1997 on BMG
Reviewed by griddell, 24/09/2005ce

Outside of Stooges recordings past & present, this is the best live Iggy offering I’ve heard.
One reason is the band line-up, another the fact it’s a radio broadcast, but most of all this is Iggy Pop emerging from the 80’s wilderness and getting back to a tougher rock sound.
‘Real Wild Child’ must have provided much-needed cash/publicity but the accompanying ‘Blah Blah Blah’ featured mediocre songs and fell victim to the hell that is that mid 80’s over-production. As the man himself said, just being out on tour & seeing the crowd reaction inspired him to retreat, rope in Steve Jones and produce the flawed but proto-metal sound of Instinct. Oh yeah, and he grew his hair, ditched the rolled up jacket sleeves and seemingly remembered he was one of the best rock performers around.
I saw Iggy on the Instinct tour at the Barrowlands, Glasgow. The difference from the previous tour was astounding - even if this CD captured a fraction of the atmosphere and feeling it would be worth a listen. Fortunately it does. And some.
‘Let’s do it! Do it’ rants Iggy and you just know he’s leaping about, cranking the crowd up as ex Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy rips into the dumb metal chug-intro of ‘Instinct’. There’s no letting up once the rhythm section kicks in. ‘We’re gonna rock it to ya straight – no bullshit’ to quote the man.
On paper the musicians don’t sound impressive – drummer Paul Garristo is ex Psychedelic Furs from the US sell-out period and bass player Alvin Gibbs was in UK Subs for Buddha’s sake! In reality they were undoubtedly the best live outfit I’ve seen solo Iggy on tour with.
Lynchpin is Seamus Beaghen, formerly Madness and later sometime-member of the mighty fine Death In Vegas. Here he switches between keyboards and second guitar, providing a much-needed link between the Stooges & solo stuff (check out the Hammond in ‘Penetration’), mostly playing the punkier Ron Ashton role to McCoy’s Williamson style fret burning.
As incredible as the re-formed Stooges are you won’t hear them attempting any James Williamson stuff and the versions on ‘King Biscuit’ are gems – ‘Kill City’ is vicious sounding, ‘Five Foot One’ rocking, ‘Johanna’ heart-breaking and ‘Search & Destroy’ full-on thunderous.
The ‘Instinct’ material is refreshed too, played about twice the speed and brought to life, most notably ‘Power & Freedom’ & ‘Squarehead’. The Iggster’s intro to ‘High On You’ is somehow both hilarious and inspiring – ‘I got really pissed off…I couldn’t take drugs anymore coz my mind was blown, so I thought I’d have to get high on you!’ And he gets high too, yelping, screaming, bellowing and crooning as only Mr I. Pop can. The memories of the Barrowlands show are unforgettable – Iggy was on fire, leaping into the heaving, drunken and frankly mental crowd, re-appearing, cajoling, insulting, snarling (at the band too!) but ultimately applauding the audience for coming along & giving him a reason to behave the way he does. You can hear all that on this recording too and the difference between Iggy saying that and virtually any other artist is simple – you believe it.
Original Stooges material is tight and much of it re-worked, however purists shouldn’t worry – worthy versions of ‘1969’ & ‘No Fun’ are a joy, as is inevitable closer ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. Only question I’d have is, “who chose the tracks?” as the dickhead omitted a ball-busting version of ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell’, yet included the very average ‘Easy Rider’.
Good news is that if you’re willing to search download sites (not that I’d suggest such a wicked thing), it is findable.

1. Instinct 10. Tuff Baby
2. Kill City 11. 1970
3. 1969 12. Winners & Losers/Scene Of The Crime
4. Penetration 13. Search & Destroy
5. Power And Freedom 14. Cold Metal
6. High On You 15. Squarehead
7. Five Foot One 16. No Fun
8. Johanna 17. I Wanna Be Your Dog
9. Easy Rider

Worth looking out for too is a clip from some late 80’s yoof TV show with this line up. ‘Cold Metal’ is fine; ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ awe-inspiring. Iggy hangs upside down from a camera crane, chats up a bemused looking woman while her partner looks pissed off and best of all, in the audience if you look closely enough, I swear you’ll see one of the Proclaimers, gutting themselves laughing & applauding.

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