TV Eye: Live 1977

Iggy Pop

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TV Eye: Live 1977 Review

by Mark Deming

While Iggy Pop's first two solo albums earned plenty of press (thanks in part to the participation of David Bowie), they didn't sell especially well, and in 1978 RCA Records offered Iggy a fast and painless way to deliver the third and final album on his contract -- they proposed he make a live album, and gave him a $90,000 budget for the project. Figuring this might be his last paycheck from a record label for a while, Iggy assembled soundboard tapes from three dates on his 1977 tour, spent $5,000 doctoring them at a studio in Berlin, and pocketed the rest. This may have been a shrewd move fiscally, but it didn't make for much of an album; TV Eye (1977 Live) sounds murky and hollow, with the four cuts from an October date in Kansas City sounding especially muddy, though with appropriate irony the K.C. performance sounds livelier than the selections from late March gigs in Cleveland and Chicago. (The more staid Cleveland and Chicago cuts feature one David Bowie on keyboards, while for the later show he was replaced by former Stooge-for-a-day Scott Thurston.) While sonically this is a step or two up from a typical bootleg, from a performance standpoint this isn't material anyone would risk a jail sentence to release; while "I Got a Right" and "Lust For Life" sound potent, on the rest of the cuts whatever energy Iggy generated on stage didn't make it onto tape, and the versions of "TV Eye" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" make clear that Iggy's road band sure weren't the Stooges. For obsessives and completists only -- but given the huge glut of semi-authorized Iggy Pop albums floating around, there must be an awful lot of them.

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