I have been wanting to see Iggy Pop for over 20 years now. While his music and persona are larger than life, we also came from the same town in Michigan. While Iggy was not born there, he and The Stooges made their names in Ann Arbor. My father used to regale me with stories of seeing him around town, and of course everyone in that age range has an Iggy story. I was finally able to see him, at Royal Albert Hall in London, of all places. Here is my account.
The opening act just finished her set, and all the lights went down. Eventually some melodic drums came on, and some Native American chanting. The band, and Iggy come out and take their places, then the opening notes of “Lust For Life” start, and my heart-rate jumps about 25%. As the band continues, here comes Iggy from the back like a shot out of a canon, the crowd erupts even louder.
I am instantly launched from reality into Iggy’s world. He is in constant motion, and constantly interacting with the crowd. After the second song he tells the lighting team “Turn up the lights in the shithole, I wanna see everyone,” and the place erupts almost as loudly as it did when he made his first appearance. He is shaking hands, hugging, stage-diving and just standing in the crowd throughout the entire show.
However, it wasn’t just physical activity which endeared him even more to this crowd, it was also his positive words. Before songs like “Sunday,” “The Passenger,” and “American Valhalla,” he sends words of encouragement out into the cavernous hall. This was mixed with almost causing a riot as he decided to take a lap around the floor seating area, hugging and kissing his way through.
Throughout the show, they mixed old and new classics to keep the crowd into it, but also not overwhelming them with one or the other. I thoroughly enjoyed that, as my recent Iggy knowledge has slipped a bit. By the time “The Passenger” was played (arguably my favorite Iggy song), I was fully immersed in his world. If I was told to turn over my bank account information i probably would not have even hesitated. It was about two hours of bliss.
I don’t want to overlook the Post Pop Depression band either. I must admit, outside of Josh Homme, I was unfamiliar with any of them. Mr. Homme, however, was fantastic. If a snake had legs, it would move like him, and that is not an insult. He fluidly moves around the stage, dancing better with a guitar than most without one. I am definitely looking into his projects when he returns to London.
As for the venue, it lived up to its reputation. I was a bit worried as I would have much preferred seeing Iggy at the Fox Theater in Detroit, or better yet, The Ark in Ann Arbor, however, Royal Albert Hall is a once in a lifetime location. The ceiling changed color scheme to match the lighting rigs, and the whole staff was incredible.
I most definitely did not want the night to end. I could have gone another two hours of it at least. The entire journey home, I had a goofy grin on my face, reliving all the songs, moments and excitement over and over again. I hope I have the opportunity to see him again.