Iggy Pop at Dundas Square

Iggy Pop 1

What was once old is new again

By Bill Delingat
It was some 40 years ago when the phone rang and the agent said, “how would you guys like to open up for the Stooges?” the reply was “Iggy and the Stooges, you got to be kidding?” Well they weren’t and here we were off to Guelph University, a hard rock quartet from Toronto called “Draco” on a cold winter evening flipping out that not only would we be some of the first this side of the border to hear the notorious Stooges, but actually open up for them. The press was full of stories of self mutilation and stage diving of the front man that called himself “Iggy Pop” and we couldn’t wait to meet and talk to him; well that didn’t really happen. We arrived for sound check at one of the University’s Convocation halls somewhere on the fringe of the campus with wall to wall carpeting and a stage placed at one end. Back in the make shift green room we were told that the “Stooges” had arrived as there was speculation they may be a “no show” and we would be sharing the change room with them. The band members were all very friendly and we were swapping ideas on what kind of guitar strings do you use and what kind of amp etc. but no Iggy. In fact he was there but in another persona, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. born April 21, 1947 a shy young guy who peered in every now and then and we assumed was the roadie or techie and it wasn’t until he donned the drummers belt with a huge buckle that the metamorphosis that began “Iggy Pop” was in the house.

Looking like something gone seriously wrong in a James Bond movie, Iggy hit the stage (literally) stripped down to the waist and painted sparkling gold with long gold lamé,ladies gloves up to his elbow. The educated and politely sitting audience almost seemed stunned as he contorted, twirled and finally leapt into the audience crawling like an Iguana towards repulsed female members with his lizard like tongue taunting them as they shrieked to get away from this “Dali” figure, before we knew it the house lights came on and an OPP officer was stage right as the show was halted by the “Noise Police” as complaints were coming in from the locals that it was “far too loud”. The student body committee gave a creditable battle to let the show continue but in reality they seemed relieved that they had a way out of something bigger than they had expected.

This past Saturday night, at the NXNE free concert presentation at Dundas Square, the “Popster” was back in full form, well chiseled and cut, with a bombastic live performance that only “Iggy” could deliver. No noise complaints tonight as even the local constabulary seemed to know the songs emanating from the illuminated stage. The audience was blown away, especially the new generation of punks and students that stood there with gaping mouths, as song after song bombarded them with the energy only a real trooper of 40 years of rock n roll could deliver. Body surfers and a huge mosh pit formed as Iggy screamed out for everyone to join in as the frenzy engulfed even the unwilling into an evening of rock n roll mayhem. Now considered an influential innovator of the American Punk rock scene, and well deserved at that, Iggy proved it again that music is ageless as those too young to even have been thought of, let alone conceived, cheered on the man that wrote "I’m Bored", "Real Wild Child", "Lust for Life" (one of the most copied rock rhythms), "Nightclubbin'" and Bowie’s favourite “China Girl” to name a few. Iggy has spawned on a generation of rockers in their music and stage antics as he proved again this evening that his raw energy is something that cannot be bought or copied as it can only come from within a person who cries out artistically to tell his views of a world gone wrong.

Iggy is not back, he never left, and it is great to see the appreciation of his talent on all those young faces as they stood in awe at another great day in Rock n Roll.

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