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Concert Review: Iggy And The Stooges At WAMU Theatre, Seattle, WA 04/27/07

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Counting this weekend's show with the Stooges, I have seen Iggy Pop live a grand total of three times. The first time I saw the Ig-man was back in the seventies on the Lust For Life tour where David Bowie played keyboards in the band.

I confess that I went partially out of curiosity because of Iggy's reputation for doing things like cutting his chest open with glass onstage, but I mainly came to see Bowie.  Within the first few minutes of that performance, I all but forgot Bowie was even there.

Iggy didn't just have a riveting stage presence — he was like a man possessed. From flinging himself face first into the crowd (this was years before stage diving became an art at grunge shows) to jamming an overhead spotlight into his face, Iggy was an absolute madman. As live performances go, it was unforgettable.

A few years later I went to an Iggy show where he incited a riot by inviting the audience onstage — who promptly tipped over the PA columns and people got hurt. Iggy was unable to perform in the city of Seattle for a number of years afterwards as a direct result of that show. Once again though, it was something you didn't soon forget.

So I was obviously stoked to see Iggy performing for the first time in thirty years with his original band, The Stooges. Stoked yes, but also just a tad bit apprehensive. Iggy's pushing sixty years old these days. He may still have that famously ripped physique that allows him to do his entire show in his trademark bare chest and ass hugging tight jeans. But lets face it, he set the bar pretty high with those shows back in the seventies, where he essentially put his life at risk on a nightly basis for the sake of his art.

So, at sixty could the Ig-man still go the distance? Amazingly, the answer was yes.

Despite the fact that Seattle's sparkling new WAMU Theatre wasn't exactly the best venue to recapture the anything goes atmosphere of rock's golden years (you weren't even allowed to duck outside for a smoke), Iggy And The Stooges rocked the stuffy new building to its rafters. The strangest thing about this show was how unbelievably tight the Stooges sounded. As fun as those Iggy shows I saw back in the seventies were, they were also always notoriously sloppy affairs — such as the one captured on the classic live Metallic K.O. album where you can clearly hear the bottles being thrown at the stage landing at the band's feet. On this night however, they sounded great.

And then there was Iggy himself. Looking ripped and surprisingly healthy given all the abuse he has subjected his body to over the years. Iggy flung himself all over the stage and dove himself into the crowd just like the good old days. Wisely sticking to the Stooges material (and avoiding latter day solo embarrassments like that "Candy, Candy" song), the Stooges ripped through the classics. And they were all there, from "I Wanna Be Your Dog" to "TV Eye" to "No Fun."

Iggy also once again invited the audience up onstage to join him, and at one point there were so many people up there you couldn't see a single member of the band. Happily, this sort of controlled chaos didn't wind up the same way it did the last time around here in Seattle. Afterwards, Iggy thanked those who got up there as members of "smelly Seattle." It was too priceless for words.

It's both tempting and easy to be skeptical of the aging "Godfather of Punk's" ability to live up to the standard he set all those years ago nowadays. But Iggy And The Stooges not only delivered the goods on this night — for once the band sounded every bit as tight as they did energized.

If Iggy And The Stooges play anywhere near you, don't miss it.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • http://spatulaforum.blogspot.com/ nik

    Great review – Iggy is high on the list of acts I’ve never seen but have to before I (or they!) die. Have you heard the new Stooges yet? I’ve seen pretty mixed reviews, what do you think?

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Nik,

    I haven’t heard the new album but the new songs off it that were played live sounded decent enough.

    Thanx for the comment.

    -Glen

  • JC Mosquito

    Umm… I didn’t care for the album, what little I heard. But all reports say the boot of the last tour is great, and as well the material off the new album is supposed to sound great live.

    Yeah… who would’ve thought 300 years ago the Stooges and the Dolls would still be around in some form (or the Stones for that matter)? “Hey hey, my, my / Rock and roll will never die.”

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I’ve heard pretty much the same thing about the new album Skeeter…that it’s basically just kind of OK. But the new stuff stood toe to toe with the classics at the concert. Thanx for comenting as always…

    -Glen

  • JC Mosquito

    “300 years ago?”

    Either a typo or a Freudian slip – doesn’t matter – it’s either funnier or more appropriate than the correction.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Hello, chiming in from Seattle. I missed the show (7th wedding anniversary, wifey is more of a jazz-head. Still trying to figure out my headbanging ways) but my spirit was there.

    You mentioned the show at Eagles Aud. back in about 1983 when the stage thrasher knocked over the stage right sound system. I was there. Funny how the guy hopped on stage, security charging in to get the guy off, Iggy responds to security to leave the guy alone. A moment later, there goes the stack! End of show. Ah heck, the people that the PA might have fallen on probably didn’t pay anyway.

    Did you see the show at the Showbox when somebody threw some sort of malotov cocktail onstage, set the drums on fire. I got out of there really fast (Showbox = matchbox). The fire was extinguished and Iggy played on. I went back in the building. It rocked as ususal.

    About 1980 or so, did you see Iggy when he hopped up onstage with X-15 at the WREX nightclub and jammed for 3 songs or so? Iggy was impressed that the band could play “Break On Through” (and whatever else he wanted) flawlessly. More fun with Iggy.

    I saw Iggy on Jimmy Kimmel the other night. Geez, what a testimony to somehow maintaining some sort of health conditioning at age 60.

    best,
    DM

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    I forgot. Isn’t the new Stooges album produced by our own Steve Albini?

    trivia,
    DM