Iggy Pop

Power & Freedom

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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Yet another in the seemingly unending series of mysterious European Iggy Pop live albums, Power & Freedom might sound a bit familiar to some fans, and not without reason; while there's nothing in the (extremely) skimpy liner notes to confirm it, a quick side-by-side comparison would indicate that this is an edited and resequenced version of the same July 19, 1988, show that's already appeared on disc as King Biscuit Flower Hour and Live at the Channel, Boston MA 1988. While the new sequence is puzzling in spots (it's just a bit disorienting to hear Pop say "Good Night!" after the fourth song), this recording at least captured Pop on a pretty good night; he's in good voice and an energetic mood, and the band (including former Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy, who delivers a strong, wiry performance) never skimps on sweat and muscle. And while the recording and mix aren't flashy, they are clear, bright, and well detailed and certainly do this band justice. The one drawback is that Pop was touring behind the album Instinct, not exactly one of his more inspired efforts, and as a result the set list is weighed down with lots of second-rate material such as "Tuff Baby" and "High on You." But Pop also had the good sense to play some of the hits for the fans, and if the versions of "Search and Destroy," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," and "Kill City" aren't earth-shattering, they sound raw, right, and committed, proving that on-stage, Pop nearly always delivers the goods. (There's also one pleasant surprise; though the track list doesn't mention it, "Winners and Losers" segues into the rare Stooges nugget "Scene of the Crime.") Rabid fans certainly won't need to buy this a third time, but if you want a good recording of the world's forgotten boy on a better-than-average night, Power & Freedom isn't a bad way to go.

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