CD Review: Iggy Pop's Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977 - 2009

CD REVIEW: Iggy Pop's Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977 - 2009
Shout! Factory 
All Access Review: A

Pleading for quiet, Iggy Pop is having no luck convincing the crowd of mangy curs at Bookie’s in Detroit in 1980 to settle down and stop screaming. Worked into a frothy, rabies-infected lather, the audience, pressing dangerously against the stage, wants blood. They demand that Iggy and the band punch them in the mouth with the kind of grimy psychedelia and brass-knuckled garage rock his old band, The Stooges, used to dish out with violent glee. Iggy, on the other hand, is intent on serenading them with a soft, jazzy old standard, “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and popularized by Frank Sinatra, of all people.
In the end, the stubborn and confrontational Iggy, spewing a stream of expletives amid entreaties for sanity, reason and safety, gets his way, and unexpectedly, he croons the song with great reverence. It’s one of the most disarming moments on the sprawling new four-CD, 66-track collection of unreleased Iggy Pop live recordings Roadkill Rising, setting them up for the kill that is the brawling, propulsive, furious ball of energy “Take Care of Me” from 1980’s Pop solo effort Soldier.
Spanning four decades of Iggy’s solo years, Roadkill Rising bulges with more than four hours of well-chosen concert audio – more than 60 tracks in all of Stooges and Iggy solo material, and a clutch of interesting covers – from some 20 different shows, like the four-song snippet from the show at Bookie’s, with its sweaty, intimate atmosphere, that includes a creeping version of “Nightclubbing” or Iggy’s performance at the huge Glastonbury Festival in England, where the classic Stooges’ growler “Down On The Street” is burned and beaten to within an inch of its life and “Real Cool Time” whips around in a cyclone of riffage.
Another in a series of “official” bootleg collections from Shout! Factory, which has featured artists like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Todd Rundgren, Roadkill Rising might just be the cream of the crop. Stooges’ material such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Loose,” from Disc 2’s 1987 gig at New York City’s Club 1018, jump out of the speakers like a mugger from the shadows, while Iggy’s “Kill City” is a muscular, turbo-charged thrill ride and covers of the “Batman Theme” and “Hang on Sloopy” are fun-filled rock-and-roll romps that celebrate rock-and-roll’s past. Disc 1 sees Iggy digging into The Stooges’ past with seething takes on “Raw Power,” “1969,” “Search And Destroy” and “Gimme Danger,” and Disc 3 – from the ‘90s – presents a rousing survey of Iggy’s best-known solo work, with “Lust for Life,” “China Girl,” “Butt Town,” “Candy” and “The Passenger” rumbling menacingly and snarling with anger.
Iggy’s fingerprints are all over these recordings. Like other artists in the series, Iggy not only has given the collection his stamp of approval, but he’s also been involved in the remastering. And the sonic quality, tough, full-bodied and electric, of Roadkill Rising is pure Iggy. There’s nothing weak sounding or lethargic. Take “Corruption,” “Howl” and “The Jerk” from Disc 3’s 2001 Bizarre Festival performance in Germany.  The guitar wrangling is viciously clear, the stomping bass is thick and powerful and the drums hit like wrecking balls – as they all do throughout Roadkill Rising. Even comments, such as “Iggy is God” and other less complimentary utterances, from the peanut-gallery crowd come through loud and clear. The only drawback the set has is its packaging. Although the comic-book artwork is cool and the accompanying booklet features vintage photos, it lacks liner notes about how these bootlegs were found or even chosen for this collection. A minor complaint, though, as Roadkill Rising is a must-have for Iggy completists or anybody with a healthy respect for ballsy, take-no-prisoners rock and roll.
Peter Lindblad  
Artist Official Page: Iggy Pop

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