Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans works perfectly from concept to recording to end result. Unlike the Beastie Boys’ “Awesome: I…Shot That!” it doesn’t just hand over cameras to fans and let ‘em run amok. (That was the anarchic spirit of that film.) Taking its cues from these Stooges diehards, this is more than just a concert document of the Stooges performance at 2010’s All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival. Because of the six ultra-devotees selected to film the show and interview members Iggy Pop, Scott Asheton and James Williamson, the overall product has a layer of punk rock street cred that would be lacking if a group of pro cameramen took positions around the stage and presented the usual range of shot selections. These are serious students of the influential band and they are chosen to sit in for the rest of us music geeks. The questions they have for the band members show their deep interest; the culmination of years and, sometimes, decades of listening to the music and collecting anything related to the legendary act. And it’s nice to see that the replies are treated with the respect they deserve and given with just as much thought.
Even the editing doesn’t follow the infuriating formula of using quick cuts to create the appearance of high energy. Instead, the camera positions and the post-production give the impression of the viewer actually being a part of that night’s crowd.
For this ATP performance Iggy and the Stooges, which includes Mike Watt on bass and Steve Mackay on saxophone, play the entire “Raw Power” album rearranged from the record’s original 1970 tracklist. Already revered as a classic, this live presentation only reinforced the work as the DNA for scores of bands over the years and the conduit for generations to come.
If you’re not sucked in by the primal force of the title track when it opens the 75-minute set then your rock ‘n’ roll loving credentials should be questioned. Iggy commands the audience to join him onstage and dance and they oblige during “Shake Appeal.” Asheton, Williamson, Watt and Mackay delightfully stretch out on “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” and acknowledge a debt to the blues “I Need Somebody.” Already sated by this historic evening, the set then doles out a few bonuses – more Stooges chestnuts including “1970 (I Feel Alright),” “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “No Fun.”
At one point during the fan interviews, Pop, Asheton and Williamson are asked how they would approach “Raw Power” differently if the album was recorded today. Pop’s response, “Interestingly, we re-recorded it tonight.”