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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs
Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs
Other // Unrated // July 15, 2008 // Region 0
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Neilson | posted July 28, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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Recorded on August 6th, 2005 at the Lokerse Feesten (music festival), in Lokeren, Belgium, Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs marks the most recent concert of James Newell Osterberg, Jr., aka Iggy Pop, available on DVD since 1999's Iggy Pop: Live at the Avenue B, and the first ever full-length concert on DVD with the Stooges.

Osterberg's been playing in bands since the age of 14, but it's his off-and-on years with the Stooges (1968-1975) that marked one of the most creative periods in his career. Though the Stooges achieved only modest success during their original incarnation, the band's work has been cited as inspiration for numerous heavy metal, punk, grunge, and industrial rock musicians from Joy Division, Kurt Cobain, Nine Inch Nails, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Henry Rollins, to Nick Cave, Jack White, REM and beyond.

Reunited in the studio for three tracks on the 2003 Iggy Pop album Skull Ring, the Stooges have gone on to perform several gigs, and currently have an album in the works. Along with Osterberg, the band lineup includes all the surviving original members: Ron Asheton on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, and Steve MacKay on sax. The band is rounded out by Mike Watt (Minutemen and fIREHOSE) on base guitar, replacing Dave Alexander who boozed his way to an early death in 1975.

Fifty-eight at the time of this concert, Osterberg appears to have lost none of the verve for which his live performances are legendary. He exuberantly struts, wiggles, dances, and sings seemingly non-stop for 64 minutes. The large festival crowd appears to enjoy the set, though, as always, the energy level of the festival crowd does not compare favorably with what an audience that's turned out especially for the band could have provided.

Video coverage of the lone performance is good, with what appears to be at least a dozen cameras, video and film, color and black & white, capturing the performance or shooting b-roll. The producers of this DVD put the wealth of footage to good effect fashioning not one, but two separate assemblies of the video material. The two cuts, identified as the Original Version and the Director's Cut, both share identical audio mixes (and hence identical timing), but use unique assemblies of the video material, though there are no noticeable stylistic differences between the cuts.

The set list consists of five songs from The Stooges (1969), six from Funhouse (1971), and two from Skull Ring (2003), played in the following order:

Loose
Down the Street
1969
I Wanna Be Your Dog
T.V. Eye
Dirt
Real Cool Time
No Fun
1970
Mindroom
(a jam not appearing on any studio album from the Stooges or Iggy Pop)
Fun House
Skull Ring
Dead Rock Star
Little Doll
I Wanna Be Your Dog
(reprised for the encore)

The DVD
Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs is encoded on two dual-layered DVDs. The two assemblies of the concert are located on disc 1, with the extras distributed between discs 1 and 2. Total running time for the concert cuts plus extras is listed as 5 hours and 34 minutes.

The concerts cuts are available for uninterrupted viewing or by individual songs from the menu.

The Video:
The concert cuts and most of the extras are anamorphically presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The image is interlaced, the focus is often soft, and there's divergent color levels, but for concert footage, Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs is fairly strong as are the extras. When compared to the average film composed of footage from a single performance of a b-list band at an outdoor music festival, Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs boasts a strong image free from the usual digital artifacts and poor light levels typical of concert films.

The Audio:
The concert cuts on Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs are offered in 5.1 or 2.0 DD, with the extras in 2.0 DD. The 5.1 audio on the concert cuts sounds about average for a recent concert video. Though the sound quality is acceptable, the mix is heavy toward the front speakers with no special effort made to directionalize the sound. Audio quality on the extras is satisfactory with dialogue easily understandable though concert footage on the accompanying documentary sounds shallow.

The Extras:
Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs provides fairly extensive extras. Packaged along with the two cuts of the concert are an 18-page booklet with sleeve notes by Joe Ambrose, author of Gimme Danger: The Iggy Pop Story (2004), a sixty minute biographical documentary entitled Iggy Retrospective covering Osterberg's life from birth through the '90's with particular emphasis on his years of close friendship and collaboration with David Bowie. Also included are new interviews with Osterberg (60 min.), Stooges guiartist Ron Asheton (29:30), Stooges drummer Scott Asheton (21 min.), and Osterberg's ex-girlfriend photographer Ester Friedman (22:35) (the most dispensable interview of the lot). Finally, disc 2 also includes additional text material playable on a windows-friendly DVD-ROM drive.

Final Thoughts:
This two-disc set includes two cuts of the Stooges' August 6th, 2005 at the Lokerse Feesten (music festival), in Lokeren, Belgium, along with a bevy of extras. Video and audio quality on the set is generally good with 16:9 anamorphic video on nearly everything, and 5.1 DD audio for the concert footage. Though there's nothing here likely to win over or otherwise wow non-fans, Iggy & the Stooges: Escaped Maniacs is recommended for the band's existing fan base.

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