Iggy Pop @ Royal Albert Hall, London [REVIEW]
Alejandro De Luna
It’s hard to find another artist within the universe of popular music with the same commitment and integrity as Iggy Pop. While the passing of time is visible on his bare torso, the spirit, fierceness and authenticity of the 69-year-old legend remain intact. This is the live soundtrack of a man who saw it and lived it all. The story of an underdog who was badly segregated; rescued from drug addiction, madness and misery, who finally gained validation after decades of paying the price of being ahead of its time. The sonic memoirs of a soldier with the mission of bringing confrontational sanity and social truthfulness to a world full of cowards and conformists cursed by ordinariness and the suicidal plans of the daily routine, as he proves by throwing poetic and savage lines on songs like ‘Mass Production’, ‘Sunday’ or ‘Paraguay’.
I’m buried deep in mass production
You’re not nothing new
I crawl for Sunday
When I don’t have to move
Caught up in dreams untangled one day
Where I don’t have to prove
There’s nothing awesome here
Not a damn thing
There’s nothing new
Just a bunch of people scared
Everybody’s fucking scared
Fear eats all the souls at once
I’m tired of it
Josh Homme & co. offer the amalgam of noise that blends perfectly with Pop’s baritone and enhances some of the most important and innovative pop music ever recorded – sometimes reinforced by 3 distorted guitars that blew the roof of the Royal Albert Hall. Iggy Pop’s latest surreal gang – dressed as if they came out of a time machine straight from a Bill Haley gig – is lead by Homme, one of the few musicians in recent times who keeps the flame of danger in rock ‘n’ roll alive. Along with Dean Fertita and the rest of the band, the sound coming out of the speakers easily challenges some of Iggy’s best backing bands from previous years.
Iggy Pop’s latest rant onstage is a an experience to be seen and felt. The man is pure heart and soul and (still) blessed with a magnetic stage presence. After a couple of songs, the allocated seats in the venue practically disappeared due to hordes of people moving frenetically to the front. There’s no physical division between the audience and the stage. It’s clear that Iggy Pop is one of the few with the ability to transform a huge and detached venue into a sweaty and intimate punk-like room.
Iggy Pop crowd surfs the entire arena. There’s blood on his face after a couple of songs. He even visits the stalls just to be hugged and kissed by an hysterical crowd. He returns to the stage to be worshiped and touched with lust by young women (and men) at the front while singing pieces shielded with sexual thirst like ‘Sweet Sixteen’ or ‘Gardenia’.
The setlist is dreamlike: Post Pop Depression and heartfelt renditions to the essential Berlin era and musical soulmate David Bowie. This is a live experience that transcends beyond the confines pop music. It’s sexy sounding, but dangerous, authentic and poetic. More like a life changing event rather than just a rock concert. It’s hard and embarrasing to explain. I just feel honoured and grateful to have been in the same place with the man. I wish this is not the last time.
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 // Break Into Your Heart / Fall In Love With Me / Repo Man / Baby / Chocolate Drops / Paraguay / Success