Iggy and the Stooges
The Voodoo Music Experience, New Orleans
November 1, 2003

Photography and review by Steve Bartels

     We left San Antonio at about 6:00am and arrived in New Orleans about 3:30. We made it down to New Orleans City Park about 4:30 and made the half-hour walk from the parking lot. There were three stages and a bunch of bands playing on each. The Island Stage featured the Stooges at 8:15, so in order to get close to the stage we had to survive sets by Fuel (pretty good) and Staind (took themselves too seriously). We managed to get pretty close, which was not easy considering there was about a ten-foot pit between the audience and the stage! After being moshed and slammed for two sets (and not knowing the words to every Staind song like seemingly everybody else there) we didn't know what to expect crowd-wise for The Stooges set. It didn't appear that there was anyone older than me there (I'm 40) and I didn't know if anyone would even know who Iggy or The Stooges were. Man, it was crowded. I swear a girl took a leak on the ground in front of us because it was she didn't want to lose her place. But these people did not remain after Staind to see The Stooges they were all waiting for Marilyn Manson (playing after The Stooges) as evidenced by the reaction to the obnoxious MC rattling off the rest of the night's bill. When he announced Iggy and even tried to hype him with this embarrassing rant about the Godfather of Punk, blah, blah, blah, there was not much reaction. When the MC announced Manson, the crowd went wild.

     8:15 rolled around and out come The Stooges. They blasted out with their fury and the crowd just stood their looking at them. I couldn't believe it. It reminded me of Iggy's stories of early Stooges performances, where the audience just stands there in disbelief. This crowd was not in disbelief, however. They just didn't know who or what they were witnessing. The sound system was excellent. I went to Coachella and this was far superior. You could hear everything well, even up pretty close. Iggy immediately recognized the audience's indifference. He yelled to no one in particular, “Radio weasels!! After a couple of songs Iggy screamed at the audience that you (the audience) won't hear The Stooges on FM radio or see them on TV. He spent quite a bit of time trying to get a rise out of the crowd and even singled one guy out for yawning during his performance. Meanwhile, the band was just cranking away they seem to be getting tighter and tighter. They were HOT! It was great. A shirtless Watt even had steam rising up off his shoulders (note to Watt: please post your reaction/diary on your website!) During Iggy's intro to "Dirt" the girl standing next to me was talking on her cell phone. It's hard to believe that his crowd that not one hour earlier was about to crush me to death in its enjoyment of Staind was now just standing there staring at The Stooges!

     Iggy tried to get people up on stage during "Real Cool Time,"but didn't get any takers. He asked the crowd, "Doesn't anybody want to come up here?!?"He finally singled out one guy who came up and danced around and sang the words (easy to learn quickly!) Later on in the set, he yelled at another guy in the crowd something like "You suckjust like the bands you like!" The crowd finally got excited during (I think) "Wanna Be Your Dog"with some crowd surfing and stuff, but went back to staring at Iggy on the next song. The set list was the same as the last few shows, but ended with "Skull Ring"as Iggy dropped the mic and screamed "Good night." They actually came back for an encore "Dog" again) after somebody started an Iggy chant. I couldn't believe they came back out. And I got screwed out of "Not Right"and "Little Doll," just like at Coachella!

     If you have a hard time believing all this (I still do!) you can allegedly see for yourself soon. According to a festival sponsor Fuse TV they are going to air each band's performance in their entireties on their cable channel on December 7. The Stooges were pro-shot with a camera guy in the pit and another on stage. The festival did not use the large swinging camera on a crane during The Stooges like they did for all the other acts, however.

     All in all, I had an excellent time. It kinda felt like it was a private show. Hardly anyone else was getting into it. Great ticket price, too: $29.50. The performance was just flat-out great! I'm extremely glad I went. I wonder what the band thought.

Steve Bartels

San Antonio, TX

(Conversation overheard in hotel restaurant the next morning)

Girl From Alabama #1: I fell asleep and missed half of Staind. Suzy slept all the way through Iggy Pop.

Girl From Alabama #2: Who is Iggy Pop, anyway?

GFA#1: Some old scraggly guy all doped up. His music was a bunch of NOISE!