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Iggy and the Stooges at Terminal 5, New York City

Posted by on Aug 16, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

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Now I wanna be your God. Left to right: Bassist Mike Watt, Ig, drummer Scott Asheton and guitarist Ron Asheton.

Well, now that a week has passed, I can look at this night objectively.  You know, if there’s one reason to miss the opening of the Beijing Olympics, you could do a hell of a lot worse than seeing a Stooges show.  At this point 61-year-old James Osterberg isn’t about to start performing with a shirt on and although he looks incredible for that age (and still sounds ferocious), some sag is setting in.  Through the course of the evening, he must have gone through a dozen bottles of water, mostly poured all over his body, maybe because he looks bettter wet.

At this point, several years into their reformation, there isn’t really much else to say.  They start out with a ripping “Loose” (“I stick it deep inside. . .coz I’m loose!”) then immediately follow that with “Down on the Street.”  Ig invites the entire crowd to dance on the stage during “Real Cool Time” and about 100 idiots of all shapes and ages oblige.  They remain up there to sing on the chorus to “No Fun.”  It takes about 5 minutes to clear them off.  Then they lurch into “1970.”  A small microphone is set up to the far right of the stage.  At the end, sax player Steve MacKay comes in to play the jazz coda to the song, making the lineup 4/5 of the Funhouse album — 38 years after!  The only one missing was the late bass player Dave Alexander.  But who knew that any of them would still fucking be alive in 2008!  Still, I wish MacKay had been included in “Loose” because that sax sound adds to the manic intensity of that song.

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‘James, I don’t want to be on stage until all those idiots you invited up are off.’  At the far right: Steve MacKay on sax and percussion.

For me, the huge surprise of the night was when they whipped out “Search and Destroy,” from the James Williamson-era Stooges, which saw Ron Asheton “demoted” to bass duty (though he was also an incredible bass player).  Gone were the stinging Williamson guitar leads, replaced by Ron Asheton toxic-sludge glop power chords.  It was like hearing a Funhouse version of the song.

If any song from the relatively new album The Weirdness is ideal for the live environment, it has to be “My Idea of Fun.”  The nihilistic sentiment of the chorus (“My idea of fun / Is killing everyone!”) was somewhat undermined by Iggy smiling and waving to people on the first and second balconies, though.  [I like The Weirdness, but the four best songs from those sessions were vinyl-only bonus tracks “O Solo Mio,” “Claustrophobia,” the cover of the Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Sounds of Leather.”]

No opening band and they played about 70 minutes, including one encore, ending the night appropriately with “I’m Fried.”  They executed the show with complete commitment (doing “I Wanna Be Your Dog” twice — without and with MacKay) even though four days before their equipment was stolen from their van in Montreal.  Bully for you!

But, heck, tickets at Terminal 5 were $45 (plus a nice $7 per-ticket Ticketmaster “convenience fee”), so shit, I hope that makes up for the stolen stuff, guys.

I got back home in time to see Yao Ming lead the Chinese athletes into the Bird’s Nest and I wondered how many Stooges fans were in Beijing that night.

One Comment

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  1. Chang

    Man, that sounds like it was a sweet show! Did they ever recover their lost gear? Though I think Iggy should have gone out in a blaze like some of his classmates, I am also glad he is still alive, keeping it real and kicking it.

    Convenience fee is a frigging oxymoron.

    Reading Jaed Coffin’s book right now. Man, is that god stuff! And next up: WAYLAID!!!

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