Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

"Extraordinary"

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Review


"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD which shows the world what audiences who attended the springtime "Post Pop Depression" concerts knew intimately. Iggy Pop, a dynamic frontman, rightfully called an icon by the Grammy awards-granting body, is backed by talented sidemen who work through material from two eras of rock and roll.

Winner of Best Live Music Coverage by the UK Music Video Awards, "Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall"'s full-scale production runs through 22 songs. Splinter Films captures and celebrates a spectacle, a snapshot in time. With no excess fanfare or lavish post-production, it attempts to simply illustrate music in the making. Fans who witnessed this show in-person have almost unanimously agreed that it was one of their favorites, and this DVD attempts to show the rest of the world 'why'.

The concert runs a sliver shy of two hours, and the camerawork shows the toil the musicians sweat through under diffuse, hot stage lights.

The setlist flows methodically, with ballads in logical places, and higher energy songs at the beginning and end. The set weaves through the annals of rock history, presenting new material from "Post Pop Depression" alongside fresh takes on songs from two of Pop's essential works, "The Idiot" and "Lust For Life". Well-paced and artfully sequenced, timeless classics like "The Passenger" or "Tonight" share aural bedspace and headspace with sonic contemporaries like "Gardenia" or "Paraguay". On "Post Pop Depression" songs, the band sounds as good as it did on the CD. Fanciful studio tangents, like the instrumental coda to "Sunday", are left off, but the crowd never suffers. The monstrous riffage from Pop's earlier work in "Repo Man", or melodic simplicity in "China Girl" and "Success", serve as reminders that variety is both the spice of life and the set.

The stage steup is effective, open, and simple. The staging and lighting tastefully augments or contrasts bare skin tones, shimmering deep red Yves Saint-Laurent jackets, the metal-flake in guitar finishes, and the scintillation of cymbals and metals. A long, white fabric strip divides the stage in half; this fabric changes color with the ambient lighting. Lighting is tasteful and sensual, mostly bathing the band in diffuse color, casting an 'evening' mood.

The multiple, quickly changing camera angles and stage views offer perspectives that no one fan could experience physically at the show. Even for fans who stood in the front row, some of the shots are closer (and clearer) then their eyes could have seen. One thing to note is that online fan-filmed footage features a singular camera angle or focus, and the DVD is a rich, quickly shifting, multiple perspective presentation. Each song has cameo 'moments' for every member onstage - sometimes in sillouette, sometimes elegantly half-lit, sometimes in bright full focus.

For sound, again it's all about a pervasive, understated style. No towering monoliths of amplifiers are needed - the music is allowed to speak of Pop, his over-arching creative influence, and his band. This release features much crisper, clearer, and better sound quality then can be found online - arguably even more enjoyable then from the live show itself. Why? 'At home', the sound can be responsive - it isn't set to blare at 105dB, and typical live sound issues like echo, or 'crowd noise', aren't nearly as prevalent.

When he's not engaging the front rows or crowd-surfing, the 69 year young Pop dances wildly around, front and center, beguiling his audience from beginning to end.

From the beginning, Pop's energy is compelling and infectious. After storming onstage to begin with "Lust For Life", he performs "strip tease" motions while (unsuccessfully) trying to shed his jacket. The full-house audience is enraptured from the outset, dancing and singing along. Theatrically mirroring "Gardenia"'s lyrics, Pop touches his butt and shows his back. Nuances are what take a performance from good to great, as he's aware. An errant stagedive before (the now extra-ironic) "Funtime" wounds Pop, and blood streams from his temple. At this point, the Royal Albert Hall concert manages to encompass Pop's best-known stage shenanigans: near boundless energy, stage diving, genuine bleeding, a forward and irreverent attitude, and the charming refusal to give up.

Pop's partner in crime on "Post Pop Depression", Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme, centers the live backing band. Drummer Matt Helders represents relative musical youth, venturing here into his first major musical undertaking since Arctic Monkeys. The Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita, and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, prove their versatility and adaptability yet again. Zwan and Chavez alumnus and current session man elite, Matt Sweeney, rounds out the lineup.

What the camera captures that audience members may not have perceived is the fluid, dynamic interplay between band members: the sideward glances, subtle cues, and transitions that mark a cohesive, well-rehearsed act. Other professionally filmed episodes from this tour are relatively light on bandmember spotlighting. This DVD immortalizes those fleeting, near-secret moments that underscore the essence of a team performance. While Iggy Pop is marqueed, and "Post Pop Depression" is counted among his solo efforts, his music would be impossible to deliver without vital input from the other musicians sharing the stage.

On "Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall", there's speaking, singing, and screaming. Sweat and blood flow freely. They frown, they dance, and they smile, but mostly, they just play music. This is rock and roll; nobody cares if it's note-perfect, so long as the feeling - the emotional intent - remains intact. It's a fitting homage to an artist who insists he's not punk, or rock, or this, or that - he's nothing more then his name. And what a name! For fans who were priviledged to see the tour, this is a fine memento, and for fans who for whatever reason were unable to attend, the reasonably-priced DVD encapsulates the tour's airs nicely. Fans who want to appreciate music that moves people without resorting to flash will be well advised to give this a watch or three.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Special Interest

Production compaines: Eagle Rock Entertainment, Splinter Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Self, Joshua Homme as Self, Dean Fertita as Self, as Self, Troy Van Leeuwen as Self, Matt Sweeney as Self

Also starring:

Contactmusic


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