Iggy Pop

Live at the Avenue B

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At 52 years of age, Iggy Pop was on tour in Europe promoting his Avenue B album in December 1999 when he performed the concert presented here as Live at the Avenue B. That's actually "Live @ the A venue B," as the credits put it, or at the AB venue, i.e., the Ancienne Belgique Theatre in Brussels, Belgium. In a set lasting nearly 90 minutes, Pop and his four-piece backup band, usually known as the Trolls, run through some Avenue B material, some of it spoken word, with the singer sitting on the stage floor and strumming an acoustic guitar, along with selected tunes from earlier albums such as The Stooges, Raw Power, Lust for Life, Blah Blah Blah, Instinct, and Brick by Brick, and rock & roll standards like "Shakin' All Over" and the show-closing "Louie, Louie." (The Kingsmen's hit version of the latter might not have had the dirty lyrics everybody thought it did, but Pop's rendition certainly does.) Pop's true métier is live performing, not recording, of course, and he is at his best here, stripped to the waist to show off his skinny frame and washboard abs, only his weathered face, often hooded by long hair, revealing his age, as he jumps and dances across the stage, occasionally throwing himself into the audience. He never gets cut up as in days of yore, but it's hard to imagine that a few bumps and bruises hadn't been raised by the end of the show. The band plays with brutal force, and the crowd eats it all up. This is a performance to show people what Iggy Pop is all about, and he doesn't seem to have lost a step in his all-out intensity, even after more than 30 years at it.

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