Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy & the Stooges, Devo, and Guns N' Roses
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., April 16, 2004
Live, no holds barred. Like U2's 03 stocking stuffer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers DVD their current pinnacle Live at Slane Castle (Warner Bros.), Meath, Ireland, in an ocean of Emerald Islanders. The opening verses of starter "By the Way" from those 80,000 shames every American audience since Washington sailed the Potomac. The four Angelinos, meanwhile, play like one, a jazz band; standards are revisited nightly for Matrix-like freeze-frames of musical transcendence. One hundred minutes packs plenty of 'em, though the cutting cameras jump like Anthony Kiedis. Take a hint from The Who's Isle of Wight DVD, to which Flea pays tribute in his black skeleton body suit: Set the tripod and let the band rip. That's precisely Iggy & the Stooges Live in Detroit (MVD), 65 minutes of Mick Jagger's little brother letting "Loose." Scott Asheton, looking like Neil Young 28 Days Later, keeps the Neanderthal beat while brother Ron brings the fire and bassist Mike Watt reads a tour journal entry as an endearing bonus. The hornet fury of "TV Eye" stinging "I Wanna Be Your Dog" almost out-swells the other extra: 50 tripod minutes of Iggy & the Ashetons unplugged and in-store, NYC. De-evolution in yellow jumpsuit form might resemble 55 minutes of Devo Live (Rhino), reunited and outdoors in Southern California, 1996. Special feature: multiple camera angles that force you to edit together a decent shoot. Never fear, Mark Mothersbaugh and the rest of Akron, Ohio's spud boys manage fission. "Whip It" and "Girl U Want," the only welts out of a 1977 context according to Mothersbaugh, and kinetic spazmotics like "Uncontrollable Urge," "Mongoloid," and "Slap Your Mammy" are as electrifyingly blunt as these brilliant boys' headgear. Twice as funny but not one scintilla as clever were Guns N' Roses, whose 1992 Tokyo Dome take-down on the Use Your Illusion tour takes up two separate DVDs (Geffen), 90 minutes each. World War II didn't last this long. With Izzy gone, and Axl doing his best Cindy Crawford in short gym shorts and Revlon hair, that leaves "Sid" McKagan and Slash as the sole original gunners. No arena ever suited gutter rats, but after 40 minutes, Axl, changing costumes like Cher, finally taps into the Midwesterner that wrote "Welcome to the Jungle" about Hollywood. Slash's solos in and out of "Civil War" set up a guitar duet with Gilby Clarke on the Stones' "Wild Horses," while Axl's brief brick from The Wall on final encore "Paradise City" couldn't possibly be more portentous.