Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Iggy Pop and the Stooges, July 16th, 2010 Azzano Decimo, Italy

Do you know many 63 year-olds out there who pour water over themselves, get doused by water from other people, hop around a stage as though someone’s just stuck fibreglass in their underwear and are the target of bottles and other “unidentified flying objects” for the entire duration of their performance? Well, that individual is none other than the lunatic of rock and roll himself, Mr. James Jewel Osterberg, aka “The Iguana”, aka Iggy Pop!
Yes, the man who in the past was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, who probably abused off every known drug ever made, who once worked together with the “chameleon” or R&R, David Bowie, who no doubt also hung out with folks such as Andy Warhol and who’s been known to perform some rather “devastating” live shows (such as in London recently were he flew into the crowd, breaking a fan’s jaw with his army boots!) devastated once again a very, very packed audience of 4,500 people in the small Italian town of Azzano Decimo (Iggy’s only Italian show by the way) and in sweltering 35 degree Celsius heat (and with roughly 95% humidity too! Just look at my t-shirt up at the top of this blog if you don't believe me!). As Monty Python once said, “It was hot enough to boil a monkey’s bum” that night in Azzano!
Die-hard Pop and Stooges fans came as far away as Slovenia for this show, a show which also saw Stooge’s guitarist James Williamson (n.b. bass guitarist Mike Watt ACTUALLY came out on stage with a full leg-brace and was helped on and off the stage by roadies! Talk about dedication to R&R or what!). The entire band also made it recently to the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, so it was to a certain degree also an honour to see them live. Pop was in top form, driving not only fans crazy with his high voltage performance, but also photographers under the stage as he was bouncing around at an incredible speed as though someone had just stuck a nuclear reactor in his “you-know-what”! Impressive also how at one point it appeared as though Iggy’s hip had caved in as he was walking around the stage in a slanted position! And after only 20 minutes into show he invited on stage a bunch of fans who were no doubt over-joyed to rub shoulders with the Iguana himself! Iggy and the Stooges were preceded by the Gang Of Four, a British post-punk band. The played for well over 1 hour as no doubt Iggy wasn’t yet ready to hit the stage (he arrived shortly before the concert by the way!). We photographers were wedged in between the stage and the barrier which separates the fans. That’s about 2-3 yards in width, so you can only imagine with some 4,500 fans ALL packed together, well, all those bodies generate even MORE heat!!! A young lassie instead was in a halter top and short shorts taking pics. I looked at her and said that “You’re probably THE sexiest photographer I’ve ever seen so far”! At one point, a fan asked me if he could jump up on my shoulders and then onto the stage. I said, “Yeah, right…” But I did warn my fellow photographers to watch out for some “UFO”: some kid ready to sacrifice his life as a flying missile and to be projected right up on stage next to Iggy! Iggy? The man’s completely nuts! It’s almost impossible to photograph because he moves around as though someone’s stuck fibreglass between his balls and ass (we only had two songs too so ya gotta work VERY FAST to try to get those good shots in)! 63 and full of energy and with yes, skin like that of an Iguana, his nickname. At one pt during the show, I looked at a fan and said: “But has Iggy thrown out his hip”? He was walking around the stage all bent out of shape! I also thought that at one point he’d perhaps throw his dentures out to the fans as a sign of “appreciation” (great too as he’d water himself down with small bottles of water, and then fans would shower him from below with MORE water and empty bottles. He didn’t even flinch!!!!).
I was hoping to hear “Wild One”, my fav Pop song, but he didn’t play it. A pity. He played for more than 90 minutes. Admittedly, you DID get your money’s worth for this show as he didn’t stay put for 5 minutes. Admirable indeed I must say.

Between Johnny Rotten (and the Sex Pistols at the Heineken Festival a few yrs ago) and Iggy, yes, I can DEFINITELY say that I’ve seen the CRAZIEST rockers in the history of r&r (you may also want to add Jagger during his youth as he too was a nutcase on stage)! I should also throw in the Slipknot boys who are basically a musical version of the film, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (I’ve seen the original AND the re-make)! A big success for this small town as Iggy’s concert was the only Italian gig last nite so it got some great publicity nation-wide!

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