The Stooges Live at Goose Lake - Courtesy

Review: Iggy and The Stooges Drop a Modern Classic with ‘The Stooges Live at Goose Lake’


One month after the Stooges released an album acclaimed as a brilliant display of rock music, weeks after Iggy Pop was first photographed wearing a dog collar, and years before the band became known as “Iggy Pop and The Stooges,” the group took the stage at Goose Lake International Music Festival in Leoni Township Michigan, not far from their birthplace of Ann Arbor.

Self-proclaimed “infamous, not famous,” The Stooges rarely failed to shock audiences and critics alike, and August 8th was no exception. For the duration of the three-day festival at Goose Lake, The Stooges shared the stage with other big-name rock icons like Savoy Brown, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, and Ram, to name a few. This lineup drew thousands of fans, hungry for action and heavy guitar. The air hung heavy with anticipation, sweat, and palpable sound waves.

The recent release of this live performance comes as a surprise to most fans. After their final breakup in 2016 following the deaths of Scott Asheton and Steve Mackay, the proto-punk group has remained fairly silent besides the occasional release of independent music or a stunt by front-man Iggy Pop. Nevertheless, the album was highly anticipated and exponentially hyped, as this historic performance was the last of the Stooges’ original, raucous lineup. This glimpse into the glory days of The Stooges’ rock rebellion was made possible by Vance Powell, who carefully restored the night’s remarkably high-quality audio, given the circumstances.

The trajectory of this final set is dictated by the “Intro” track as it begins then immediately fades into shrieks and slashes of blunt rock severity. Both Stooges’ albums, created with their original lineup, self-titled and “Fun House,” are marked by a signature hard-rock sound that embodies the energy of live-performance even in a studio recording. Subsequently, the intensity, the air, of a live Stooges’ show skyrockets, resulting in the distinctive mania and fervor of their crowd and musicians.

The honorable mention of the night is the performance of “1970 (I Feel Alright)”; an exhilarating experience to be received during the actual year of 1970. This sped-up version of the studio-recorded track filled with a slew of signature screeching and audience interaction climaxed in a historic reinvigoration for a fresh decade of rock fanatics.

The audio recording obviously doesn’t privilege the idiosyncratic and legendary performance Iggy Pop is known for, the performances that essentially catapulted The Stooges into the reporters’ critical light, but the audio is enough to exhibit a sliver of the chaos that was happening on and off the stage at Goose Lake. The live album exalts the beauty in misplaced screeches, rambunctious audiences, guttural groans, and accidental amp feedback resulting in an authentic rock escapade.

After a seven-track set, The Stooges wrap-up the show with a culminating performance of their instrumental track “LA Blues.” The group ignites an eager crowd with an intense orchestra reminiscent of a circus, or “Fun House,” gone terribly wrong, reflective of The Stooges, the festival, the world, or whatever the listener conjures. This album is a gift to an uninspired, stagnant people.

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