Various accounts from some of the estimated 200,000 people at Goose Lake Festival, which opened with Faces featuring Rod Stewart, paint a bubbly atmosphere on day one. However, the mood shifted dramatically by day two, when illicit drugs including “a substance that fuelled concert-goers and artists alike,” according to Creem magazine’s Jaan Uhelszki, began circulating across the vast festival site, complete with its own lake and dune buggy trails.

Uhelszki, a Detroit music journalist, wrote the extensive liner notes for this unexpected live album, which Blackwell refers to as the Rosetta Stone for fans of the Stooges. “Like the fabled brown acid at Woodstock, Goose Lake had its own pharmaceutical pestilence,” notes Uhelszki. Woodstock, in upstate New York, had taken place a year earlier, but as the ’70s kicked off, so too had a wild new group of musicians, those less inclined to follow the rules of normal society.

Iggy Pop on stage with the Stooges around the time of Goose Lake Festival in 1970.

Iggy Pop on stage with the Stooges around the time of Goose Lake Festival in 1970.Credit:

“There’s all sorts of stories, one about Iggy trying to incite the crowd to tear down the barrier between the stage and the crowd,” says Blackwell, adding that “on the recording, you hear the entirety of the time the Stooges were on the stage, and I can’t hear anything about tearing shit down. Maybe the band who went on after them, the Third Power, in the middle of their set it sounds like the MC asking people to stop pulling at the barriers.”

In between the reality and stories of what might have happened that day, the album proves a couple of things, starting with the fact that Alexander, who was sacked immediately after the show, did in fact play bass despite being “too stoned to remember a song,” as Pop suggested in 2006. More significantly, it suggests nothing came close to the sheer raw power of the Stooges in 1970.

“I’ve spent lots of time listening to the studio recordings of Fun House, as any self respecting boy from Detroit should, and Fun House is a very polished portrait of the Stooges,” says Blackwell. “Once you hear these live recordings of how raw they actually were, there’s an even more savage element to the band that’s not been documented because there’s not been a proper live recording.”

“I’m still in shock we’re even putting out a Stooges record.

Ben Blackwell

A new incarnation of the Stooges hit the road soon after Fun House was released and the dust had settled at Goose Lake. James Williamson, from Texas, joined the band and they recorded third album Raw Power with him in 1973 before breaking up in 1974, but Blackwell says Live at Goose Lake encapsulates the band’s freaky peak with saxophonist Steve Mackay honking like a wild man.

“It’s the beginning of the end of the Stooges and that’s no slight on Raw Power or James Williamson or even the ’71 line up with Jimmy Recca on bass,” he says. “Goose Lake informs everything else about the band, before and after Dave Alexander. I wish I could be in the room every time a Stooges fan was listening to this album, it’s awesome.”

Five decades since Iggy Pop strutted on stage at Goose Lake, the 73-year-old Godfather of Punk has contributed some of his own thoughts about the show for the liner notes, and while Blackwell says Pop “doesn’t have to talk about a show he played 50 years ago,” he’s thrilled that Pop was involved.

“His was the most important sign off and he trusted us enough to do it,” he said. “I’m still in shock we’re even putting out a Stooges record, let alone something that’s never been heard before.”

The Stooges’ Live at Goose Lake will be released on August 8.

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