Pop – Post Pop Depression – Live at Royal Albert Hall – Blu-ray + 2 CDs (2016)

by | Dec 20, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Pop – Post Pop Depression – Live at Royal Albert Hall, Blu-ray + 2 CDs (2016)

Legendary proto-punk artist proves his relevance once again.

Performers: Iggy Pop; Joshua Homme; Dean Fertita; Matt Helders, Troy Van Leeuwen; Matt Sweeney
Studio: Eagle Vision EVB335569
Director: Nick Wickham
Video: 16×9 for 1080i HD, color
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM Stereo 2.0
TrackList (Blu-ray + CD) : Lust For Life; Sister Midnight; American Valhalla; Sixteen; In The Lobby; Some Weird Sin; Funtime; Tonight; Sunday; German Days; Mass Production; Nightclubbing; Gardenia; The Passenger; China Girl; Break Into Your Heart; Fall In Love With Me; Repo Man; Baby; Chocolate Drops; Paraguay; Success
Length: 118 minutes
Rating:     Audio: ****    Video:  ****    Overall: ****

James Newel Osterber Jr. began his musical career as a high school musician in Ann Arbor Michigan during the late sixties His first association with a band was the Iguanas. After that group the now re-named Iggy traveled to Chicago to absorb big-city blues culture. There Iggy Pop (full new moniker) began observing performance styles of The Doors, James Brown and the MC5. Iggy Pop and The Stooges worked small clubs and caught the attention of John Cale who produced the band’s debut, The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970). Neither album garnered huge critical success (although later, Fun House would crack the Rolling Stone’s top 500 Albums Of All Time). Fueled by inspiration and heroin, the Stooges had trouble staying together. After a meeting with David Bowie in 1972, The Stooges reunited with the iconic Raw Power, but the band and Pop struggled. As a solo artist, Iggy collaborated with David Bowie in the late seventies on The Idiot and Lust For Life. Personal demons were at odds with high octane performance and edgy songwriting. But Iggy Pop would persevere.

In 2016, Pop released a new album, Post Pop Depression. In addition, Eagle Entertainment has released a box set, Iggy Pop – Post Pop DepressionLive At Royal Albert Hall, a Blu-ray of the concert that includes two CDs. Drawing on material from Lust For Life and The Idiot with additional new tracks, Pop does what he knows best, front an aggressive, hard-edged rock band. As the familiar strains of Lust For Life begin, Iggy launches into a ferocious performance (probably the only 69-year-old rocker that could do this) that belies time. His singing is assured and the formerly uncontrolled frenzy is held together by well-rehearsed, cohesive band. It seems that his singing style (on “Sister Midnight”) has a talking, Zappa-esque baritone quality. On the hypnotic, “American Valhalla”, Pop loses the shirt and engages in classic punk context and phrasing. He connects with old-school Stooges on the rocker, “Sixteen”.  There are plenty of guitar hooks and soon, the singer is “crowd surfing”. There are a few profanity-laced introductions and innate anger in the performance. The band is an excellent complement to this.

More importantly, the crowd is energized and on their feet. Other set highlights include the debauchery-infused “German Days” and funked-up “Nightclubbing”. The band is relaxed and even having fun on “Gardenia”. They are especially creative on the Clash-like song, “Passenger”. The unique, skipping cadence is infectious. Even some accessible material, David Bowie’s “China Girl” and the near-menacing romantic “Break Into Your Heart” are received enthusiastically by the audience. But when the adrenaline takes hold on “Repo Man” the level of intensity goes up a notch. “Paraguay” may be the show stopping highlight. The outlaw motifs and rock prominence are incendiary.

Post Pop Depression – Live At Royal Albert Hall is a very uplifting concert film. The HD photography is excellent. The stateliness of the venue is showcased in simple, elegant lighting. The black levels are dark enough to provide an eye-popping contrast with stage visuals. The 5.1 mix is clear, if not dynamic. Iggy Pop can still bring it!

—Robbie Gerson

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