Iggy Pop, Royal Albert Hall

IMG_6757London, Friday, May 13, 2016

Flashback Review:
This is a concert I attended over a year ago so, while I may not remember all the details, this review is written to the best of my recollection.

Royal Albert Hall is not a venue one would associate with someone with Iggy Pop’s artistic reputation. But on every other level, it’s strange that he hasn’t played here sooner. Aged 69 he is a music legend and has inspired more rock bands than most more ‘respectable’ rock notaries.

Maybe he hasn’t always come across as ‘respectable’ but he’s more polite, well-read and articulate than his image portrays. He is the ultimate precursor to punk, a proper Rock and Roll royalty – so for tonight, let’s rename the venue, Royal Iggy Hall.

At the Iggy Hall this evening, every seat is sold out. Iggy is touring his latest album, Post Pop Depression, released shortly after his old friend, David Bowie’s death, and as reviews have been quick to point out, revisiting that particular time pocket they spent in Berlin in the mid-late seventies.

IMG_672969 with a Lust For Life

Josh Homme, Dean Fertita and Troy van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age, Matt Sweeney from Chavez, and Arctic Monkeys-drummer Matt Helders, create a swinging soundscape and hard-hitting backbeat that suit Iggy Pop to perfection. A new song from the latest album, Post Pop Depression, Gardenia, is sandwiched in between Berlin-classics like Nightclubbing and The Passenger, and the songs sit so well together they may as well have been part of the same recording session though they’re recorded almost forty years apart. Though Sir Pop’s crispy-tanned, battered, wrinkly body and face couldn’t pass for someone in the 20s or 30s, his voice and his attitude take us right back to his prime – which in its own way, means that tonight, this tour, touring this record, right now, is his prime.

It’s worth noting that 69-year-old Iggy spends approximately as much time among the audience as he does on stage; stage diving, crowd surfing and simply walking out into the crowd. During Fall In Love With Me, he even performs what can only be described as a victory lap, jumping down from the stage and making his way through the crowd in a horseshoe crown until making his way back on stage to finish the song. He passes close enough to touch and most people reach out to cop a feel of the passing Popster – ‘cos who knows if we’ll ever get the chance to do so again.

IMG_6739Contemplating a stage dive perhaps?

As a performing artist Iggy Pop makes himself available and approachable to his audience, in fact, he thrives on it. He truly acknowledges the interaction between performer and spectator, as if he wants to be a spectator too and wants the crowd to be performers alongside him, not just an adoring herd bleating their admiration in his general direction. 

The group strut, duck-walk and beat the hell out of the songs, from the iconic introductory, pulsating beat of Lust For Life to the final song, Success with its lines, ‘Here comes success…I’m gonna go out on the street and do anything I want.’ And as far as song titles go the evening could not have been bookended better, a group of musicians with a lust for life, playing their asses off, instructing us that success is there for all of us – all we have to do is go out on the street and do whatever we want.

Iggy Pop setlist
1. Lust for Life
2. Sister Midnight
3. American Valhalla
4. Sixteen
5. In the Lobby
6. Some Weird Sin
7. Funtime
8. Tonight
9. Sunday
10. German Days
11. Mass Production
12. Nightclubbing
13. Gardenia
14. The Passenger
15. China Girl
16. Break Into Your Heart
17. Fall In Love With Me
18. Repo Man
19. Baby
20. Chocolate Drops
21. Paraguay
22. Success