It seems like just yesterday that albums only made concert appearances sitting atop merchandise tables. Then along came Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds presentations and Los Lobos’ Kiko tour and Social Distortion’s Mommy’s Little Monster run and suddenly, every band and its grandma is serving up full renditions of venerable LPs, as Iggy & The Stooges will do with 1970’s seminal Fun House this weekend at Vegoose.
Just where did the trend begin? An argument might be made that it dates to such primordial opuses as The Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, but those projects—along with successors like Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime—were intended as uncut pieces of music and were typically presented whole. During the 1990s, Phish became known for its semi-annual Halloween “costume” sets, which saw the quartet take on complete works by other artists, including The Beatles’ White Album and The Velvet Underground’s Loaded (the latter here in Las Vegas).
Most accurately, the phenomenon can be traced to UK-based festival All Tomorrow’s Parties, which, in 2005, began staging “Don’t Look Back” performances specifically billed as re-creations of classic albums—Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me, Gang of Four’s Entertainment!, Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff, Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister and many more. This summer, ATP teamed with website Pitchfork to bring that series to the states, in the form of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, The GZA’s Liquid Swords and Slint’s Spiderland.
What has this musical craze wrought? Diminishing spontaneity, on one hand, but the chance to hear long-forgotten deep cuts on the other. And just think, if it continues to flourish, maybe one day you might just be lucky enough to hear a full live version of Kevin Federline’s Playing With Fire.
Iggy & The Stooges > Saturday, 8:15 p.m., Snake Eyes Stage.