5.1 Entertainment has released a relatively famous Iggy Pop recording from his sold out show at The Ritz in New York City back in 1986. While I'm of the personal opinion that no live recording could ever do justice to the spectacle of manic energy that is an Iggy Pop concert, this recording does do a pretty good job of trying, at least considering that this is a mid-eighties show, a time in his recording career that I consider to be one of the low points, obviously with a few stand out singles being the exception.
The seventeen tracks included on this release are:
1. I Wanna Be Your Dog
3. Fire Girl
4. Lust For Life
5. Hide Away
6. Baby, It Can't Fall
7. Sister Midnight
8. Some Weird Sin
9. I Got A Right
10. Down On The Street
11. Five Foot One
13. Winners And Losers
14. China Girl
15. Blah, Blah, Blah
16. Real Wild Child
17. Gimme Danger
The selection of songs on this release runs a bit of a gamut, and while it does include long time live staples such as The Stooges classics I Wanna Be Your Dog and Gimme Danger, with which he opens and closes the show, there are also some more obscure tracks on here that don't seem to get played live as often these days.
In that respect, this is a pretty nice release and while I would have loved to have heard more 'classic' tracks performed, at the same time it's nice to have a bit of variety and there's really no need to all the live Iggy Pop release (and there are a lot of them out there) to sound more or less the same.
Obviously, seeing as this was recorded on the Blah, Blah, Blah Tour, a lot of the songs performed are from that same album. In fact, out of the ten tracks on Blah Blah Blah, seven of them are performed at this show and only Isolation, Cry For Love, and Little Miss Emperor are missing from an otherwise near complete performance of that entire recording. With the sheer volume of songs and albums in the man's career, now spanning it's fourth decade it would be unlikely for you to hear that many songs off of that recording again.
The concert features a nice mix of old, and what was at the time, new tracks and they're all performed with the same sense of urgency that Iggy has become known for after bringing his brand of hyper kinetic rock and roll to audience after audience despite his ups and downs and battles with numerous substances, record labels, and band members.
Being a DVD-Audio release, there's not much in the way of video here, save for a few stills that change each time a new song starts. They're relatively clear and are nice and colorful, but are really nothing to get too excited about.
Silverline has provided us with solid sounding 24 bit/96kHz DVD-Audio and 24 bit 48kHz Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the disc. Most of the audience response is delegated to the rear channels with the vast majority of the concert action taking place up front, giving you the aural illusion of sitting in the front row of the concert (hence the concept of the From The Front Row…. Live series of releases). Considering this recording isn't that far off from it's twentieth birthday, the mix is surprisingly clear. There are no problems with distortion or hiss that take anything away from the experience and there are plenty of instances of nice channel separation that occur throughout the show. Your subwoofer will get a mild workout from the bass levels used, but it's not overkill and things do sound reasonably accurate and life like. It's not reference quality and it's never going to reach the quality of something like one of the David Bowie DVD-Audio releases (hey, it's a punk rock show, it's not supposed to be crystal clear!) but it gets the job done and remix does inject some new life into some old material.
There are no extra features on this release, save for the reverse side of the cover which lists the songwriting credits for each track on the disc.
This isn't a definitive Iggy Pop recording but it's a solid entry in his catalogue with a pretty decent sound mix on it that will probably appeal to most of his fans. Even if you already have this show, the 5.1 remix is done very well and for that reason, it's worth upgrading.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.