Art, menace and dangerous rock n roll

In 1970, almost nobody was a fan of The Stooges. So when they went on stage at Michigan’s Goose Lake Festival in front of two hundred thousand people, they probably knew they had nothing to lose, and everything to prove.

And they went off.

What went down that night could have been lost to history, yet by some miracle chance an enterprising sound engineer somewhere within the grounds recorded every note of the band’s performance from their introduction to the stage to the power going out at the end of their set. Here it is in all its ragged glory. No overdubs, almost no bass – David Alexander was apparently so wasted Iggy fired him right after the show – and no filter.

This is as raw and as visceral as the Stooges themselves.

Loose tumbles onto the stage with a riff that is almost grinding and Iggy is already fired up; by the end of T.V. Eye he’s a caged animal trying to tear down everything around him, snarling, snapping, roaring, a vessel of savage ferocity, significantly louder than Ron Asheton’s searing guitar. Accompanied only by brother Scott’s drums as he somehow manages to keep everything on track – at least for now – Asheton’s wild extended soloing in Dirt appears to serve as a way to keep Iggy at bay, but it’s only for a few moments. It’s 1970 and The Stooges become more frantic; Iggy is unhinged now and the addition of Steve Mackay’s seemingly random blasts of saxophone only makes Fun House even more deranged; LA Blues explodes and it’s clear the primitive recording method employed here is almost overwhelmed by the total chaos coming off the stage. The Stooges are going berzerk in a furious blur of primeval release that’s abruptly cut short before it can explode completely. If only we could see this as well as hear it, but at the very least the detailed accompanying liner notes by Creem‘s Jaan Uhelski tell a rock and roll tale for the ages about a performance and a festival that would otherwise be almost forgotten.

Fifty years on and those who finally get The Stooges can revel in the spontaneous unpredictability of the band live on a stage. It was art. It was menace. It was dangerous rock and roll, and this is literally the very last moment from The Stooges in their original, most riotous form, captured exactly the way it needed to be.

  1. Intro
  2. Loose
  3. Down on the Street
  4. TV Eye
  5. Dirt
  6. 1970
  7. Fun House
  8. LA Blues