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Post Pop Depression At The Greek Theater, Thursday April 28th 2016

iggy

photo by Debi Del Grande (LA Record)

 

After rubbing elbows with Iggy Pop and Joshua Homme on Wednesday night at Mr Musichead, I was at the Greek theater the next night, much further away unfortunately, but just happy to have scored a ticket for this sold-out concert, the final US date of their ‘Post Pop Depression’ tour.

‘Yes, they are red!’ said Iggy talking about his underwear that were showing up above his low-ride pants. At this point he had already dropped his vest, and it was not a very warm night, but Iggy would go shirtless in the middle of winter in Minnesota. Not long after that, he was determined to show us more, ‘I’m gonna show you my undies,’ he said, slipping his pants down far enough to show us a pair of bright-red briefs, for just a few seconds. Beside the music, all powerful and mighty significant to all these people, the show was punctuated by these funny-goofy pure-Iggy moments, which made the show a very memorable one.

Iggy was in pure-punk shape, wild and cheerful, and if he was surrounded by members of Queens of the Stone Age/the Dead Weather/Artic Monkeys, it was first a Iggy Pop show. He was the rockstar of the night, and top-notch musicians Matt Sweeney, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Matt Helders and of course Joshua Homme, were just his back up band for the night, as not one instant one of them tried to overshadow the punk legend’s antics. He took many crowd baths, ran and jumped non-stop, boxed the air and crowd surfed a few times, offering his naked torso to the lucky front row kids who could not get enough of him. I was a bit too far to see everything that was happening up there, but it looked like people were having the time of their life, all stretched-arms to be able to reach the star of the night. How much would I have paid to be in that pit? It was as if Iggy had read my mind when he asked security to let a few ‘poor’ people reach the expensive front row seats. I don’t know how many managed to do so, I didn’t even try, and I regretted it almost immediately, but I had already sneaked into a lower seat section than my ticket allowed me to. From my spot, the whole parterre in front of the stage looked like an adoring sea, waving arms and hands at each of Iggy’s moves, and when he pointed to a higher balcony section and said ‘I don’t know how the fuck I will get out there but I will’, people got out of control. A few songs later, he went out in the crowd, everyone wanted a piece of his punk rock body, and if it could have been perceived as the adoration of a relic, and it was nevertheless glorious.

Till the end, the songs were clearly alternating between cuts from ‘Post Pop Depression’ and Iggy’s first two solo albums, ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘The Idiot’, that he recorded in collaboration with David Bowie in Berlin in the late 70’s. they had launched the show with a fierce and empowering ‘Lust for Life’, immediately giving the tone to the night.

Iggy asked a few times to light up the crowd, because he wanted to see all these ‘fucking nice people’ in this ‘fucking nice place’ … and the rest of the show was just a wild ride with Iggy’s dark baritone, Homme’s backup falsetto, QOTSA’s emotional guitars and abrupt sonic attacks. At the end, there will always be the question asked by the purists, will the new material stand up the test of time when compared to old classics like ‘Nightclubbing’ or ‘The Passenger’? Old or new songs, the crowd’s reaction was uniform, while the new material in its live incarnation, with its very Homme-Fertita-Van-Leeuwen guitar licks, sounded as powerful as anything Iggy had ever recorded, especially when he was leaning on the mic with his iconic raw-power pause, or going all-gorilla on us and beating his chest with a madman smile on his face, or even throwing the mic stand with a childish aggression.

‘I borrowed some of the words from an old junkie writer, William Burroughs,’ said Pop before ‘Baby,’ ‘he was a good writer, junkies are people too!’ And in the middle of this glorious sea of happy and joy-exulting people, he also addressed to those who were ‘lost and lonely’ and said a cheerful ‘don’t give up, don’t fucking give up’ before ‘Chocolate Drops’, echoing the lyrics of the song ‘When your love of life is an empty beach (Don’t cry)’.

At 69, Iggy on stage was such a young motherfucker, as he called us many times, he was a pleasure and a joy, eating pieces of the crowd little by little, proving once again he is still a hell of a performer, celebrating rock ‘n’ roll with a devilish appetite for life and a playful decadence. All show-long you could also palpate the great complicity between him and Joshua Homme or the other musicians, who have rejuvenating the career of the old punk rocker, something Iggy seemed to tell us, when he said just before ‘Success’,’ I feel almost successful!’.

The ghost of his old friend David Bowie was certainly above the Greek theater, especially during ‘China Girl’ that they played just before the encore. I was seeing that vintage 80’s Bowie video in my head while watching Iggy running and jumping, having an excellent time. For this reason, it wasn’t a sad moment at all, and after a long guitar solo, Iggy was gone, but not for too long, reassuring everyone he was still the last punk rocker standing, still bleeding for us and fully alive.

Setlist

Lust for Life
Sister Midnight
American Valhalla
Sixteen
In the Lobby
Some Weird Sin
Funtime
Tonight
Sunday
German Days
Mass Production
Nightclubbing
Gardenia
The Passenger
China Girl
Encore:
Break Into Your Heart
Fall in Love With Me
Repo Man
BabyChocolate Drops
Paraguay
Success


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