Special Edition! Iggy Pop: 2001 Concert Reviews
The rain begins to fall as soon as Iggy Pop hits the Scene Paris stage at the Solidays festival. "Merci France, fuckin' merci," he drawls, as if thanking the skies, as if he's controlling the weather with his raindance. Paris, at least, is at his mercy for now.
"Which mask are you?" he asks in the opening song 'Mask'. Iggy's consists of a goatee which, along with his long hair, gives him the look of a demure rock icon (albeit one who has life experience written all over his face). He's almost convincing until he removes his jean jacket and bares his small but defined elastic frame. It's Iggy alright. The Iguana.
Looking healthier and more adrenaline-charged than ever, the godfather of punk wants to show that he's no has-been. Who cares if some of the songs sound like they're cut from the same pattern. He's part of that group of artists who have made such a mark on the music scene in the past that the music itself no longer matters. His career, spanning thirty years of music, accounts for his consistent popularity.
So now it's all about performance. At age 54, he still oozes energy, gyrating and wiggling as spasmodically as ever. Backed by a Metallica-hard band, his repertoire includes both old classics and new songs from his latest album 'Beat 'Em Up', including the title track, 'Howl' and 'Go For The Throat', during which he admits, "I'm fucked up". The audience sings along throughout the show, chanting the unwholesome choruses on 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' and even joining Iggy's wails on 'Howl'.
At the end of 'Corruption', he shares one of rock's worst kept secrets with us: "I'm gonna tell you something. I'm a real wild one, wild one," and bursts into his personal theme song, 'Real Wild Child'. His home is the stage - he invites a group of fans, young and less young, to dance in his sanctum. And as the band shift into 'Lust For Life', one grey-haired fan insists on hugging Iggy before being chased across the stage and behind the drum kit by a staff member.
when Iggy's left the stage, the rain stops. He's still, after all these
years, working that demonic magic.
Iggy Pop remains a marvel of human engineering, with a twisted rope for a body that, by traditional standards, should have collapsed of hard living decades ago. But Pop wears every scar with a rock 'n' roll soldier's pride.
The singer's approach is bedrock simplicity. He emerges as though unleashed from a cage, wearing the frenzied, feral look of a prisoner tasting freedom for the first time in years. tThe washboard torso is shirtless, the frayed jeans cling to his inconsequential hips, inches away from an arrest for indecent exposure. He dances as though taunting a biker wielding a pool cue, breaking into a mariachi fast-step, flapping his wrists, leaping and writhing at the same time.
"We live in a maaaa-sheeen!" he cried on the night's third number, "Beat 'Em Up." "We can't keep up with a machine!"
It was simple logic, and even simpler music. Pop's backing bands sometimes have a tossed-off, Chuck Berry-like feel to them, as if the singer thought anybody could play those three-chord Stooges riffs with proficiency. But not just anybody can get the groove right, that greasy sense of swing that made every note the Stooges ever played sound both lethal and somehow sensual. Pop's current ensemble came closer than most to getting that sex beat just right, especially drummer Alex Kirst, who refused to overplay, and guitarist Whitey Kirst, whose tone was covered in Detroit rust.
Still, the band had a tendency to play everything in Pop's past faster than the way it was originally recorded, until they let the tempo breathe a bit on a killer version of "Loose," Pop prowling like a panther in search of a mate. After a breathless one-hour opening set, spanning "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Raw Power" to "Home" and "Corruption," the encore shifted into an even higher gear. The singer grunted pithy commands -- "Street!" "Noise!" "I'm lost" -- that summarized not just the content of the songs, but his worldview.
Forgotten or not, Pop represents everything that once and forever will be great about rock 'n' roll. His bouts with hard drugs, abusive record companies and more than a few embarrassing songs -- included the self-parodies "Wild Child" and "Cold Metal," performed at the Vic -- have not softened him. On the contrary, Pop is still the one act that no rocker wants to follow on stage.
4/29/01: The Fillmore. San Francisco, CA. 8pm. By Seven Mile Road
thumbnail review of SF show. Much as described for AZ show. Rather than
letting the band vamp for about 2-3 minutes before he comes whirling on
stage, Iggy entered immediately. The new song "Mask" is a real
good set starter, with that philosophical bent done so well by our guy.
Why he follows that with the bi-lingual number I'll never know. Crowd
erupts at Search & Destroy. The new goatee looks good. His eyes seem
also black, not so spaced-out blue as in the past. Wearing a pair of low
cut jeans, his body just showing a trace of less-than-tautness. Iggy an
inspiration to all of us in the aging department (and yes, we are ALL
aging). My thought is, did he move to Florida to be closer to the legendary
fountain of youth?? 'Cause it's working! Another new song, "Beat
'em Up" is a bit weak. in fact, all the new songs seem cut from the
same cloth, kinda a big beat thing -- playing to the band's weakness,
mebbee? Except "MASK", a good rocker. Band lags a bit on "Got
a Right" and another couple rhythmically challenging hits. Sound
is too bass heavy, you can't really hear the guitar leads, not that there
are many. Whitey finally gets a chance to cut loose on "Dog".
"Cold Metal" is good. He does only one cover, "Wild Child".
Good version of "Corruption", it's a good song. "Passenger"
with attendant stage dancing a bit week, as is "Lust for Life".
Killer version of "Death Trip". Good version of "Raw Power",
get the biggest sing-along. 1000 people crowing "Raw Power"
4/25/01: Cajun House, Scottsdale, AZ. 8pm. By Mike from Texas (thanks from all!)
What a night!!
There were several suprizes in store for the faithfull at the Cajun House
in Scotsdale.. The sound at the Cajun House was stellar (unless you were
pressed up againist the stage, and this beef is common no matter what
the venue) and with the exception of the L.A. shows at the El Rey a couple
years ago ,a welcome relief from the usual barns hes' been playin in out
here the past few tours. The performance was stellar on both Iggy's and
the bands part, and included a very generous preview of his upcoming cd.
Which sounds to be the Igs strongest in years.. The biggest surprize of
the night was Pete on the bass , handling the chores in place of "Mooseman"
Roberts...WHERE HAS IGGY BEEN HIDING THIS GUY ON THE LAST FEW TOURS AND
WHY??? Standing off to the side playing guitar and often buried in the
mix on the Naughty and B tours, Pete proved himself to be not only capable,
but throttled my bass luvin ass. This guy is a monster and the most welcome
"addition" to the lineup since the Brick tour. Strange how things
work out, and If it hadn't been for the loss of the Moose, this gem most
likely would never have been uncovered. And the benefits of this move
get even greater!!! With Whitey on his own, he seems to be much more focused
, pushing himself, Iggy and the music like I haven't seen since he joined
the band. Along with his brother Alex playing on drums and the second
nature musicianship that only brothers can have, this adds up to one of
the most satisfyin bands the Igs had in as very long time. An amazingly
full sounding and rockin 3 piece. I can't wait to see them again!!!!!!
The set list as follows.
4/25/01: Cajun House, Scottsdale, AZ. 8pm. By Steve B. from Texas (thanks!)
back yesterday to San Antonio from the all-too brief Iggy tour after
The 4th &
B was a great place, in the heart of downtown among the scyscrapers.
we were treated to the lovely absence of any opening act (it really
The set was
basically the same except for the addition of another new track
I think this show was more enjoyable than the Scottsdale gig, although
on the way from AZ to SD we stopped at the Coachella festival site
& B, San Diego, CA. 8pm. By Mike from Texas.
4/27/01: 4th & B, San Diego, CA. 8pm. By Steve B from Texas.
yesterday to San Antonio from the all-too brief Iggy tour after
The 4th &
B was a great place, in the heart of downtown among the
we were treated to the lovely absence of any opening act (it
The set was
basically the same except for the addition of another new track
I think this show was more enjoyable than the Scottsdale gig,
on the way from AZ to SD we stopped at the Coachella festival
4/28/01: The Coachella Valley Music Festival, Indio Polo Field, Indio, CA.
one worked harder on Saturday then the elder statesman of punk,
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