Monday, April 23, 2007

Heroes - Part One

The Stooges
The Warfield, S.F.
April 21, 2007

"I took a ride with the pretty music..."

(Pic by Timo)

Of all my Music Geek heroes, I have to say Iggy and the Stooges are ones I'm beholden to the most; I've been waiting 4 years for the Stooges reunion to finally make it to NorCal. Fuck The Police reunion; STOOGES!! This was the second of two sold out S.F. shows and, in a cool bit of scheduling, it fell on Iggy's 60th Birthday! How cool is that!?

True story: In 1997 when Raw Power was reissued I went to a local Tower Records to buy it. As the very young goth punk girlie cashier picked up the CD to scan it, she stopped to stare at the cover and asked me "Who's THAT!??"... Love, exciting and new.

Hopefully, in the 10 years since then, that goth punk girlie cashier did her homework and knew that tonight's version of the Stooges wasn't performing any Raw Power songs. If she'd completed her studies, she'd also know that Funhouse is their best album anyway. One can only hope she's managing a Hot Topic store now.

"I stick it deep inside, 'cause I'm loose...

Holy shit.. You've got to be kidding me: 'Loose' > 'Down On The Street' > 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' to OPEN the set!!? FEROCIOUS... and Iggy was in the crowd for the first of many times during 'Dog'. How he manages to deliver like that every night is one of the mysteries of The Universe. What does Iggy take to come down after a show? A double espresso?? Also, does Iggy buy his jeans off the rack?

Happy Birthday! (Reuters photo)

I've seen Iggy solo many times over the years, but the Stooges songs are profoundly more molten with Ron Asheton and his Marshall stacks driving them. Admittedly, the set was top heavy with most of "the hits" coming early, but the new songs were great in the "live performance" setting.. Scott Asheton and Mike Watt were steel reinforced concrete with a titanium outer shell wrapped in razor wire, man.. and sax player Steve Mackay pushed the boogie factor into overload.

I'm not kidding: During 'T.V. Eye' I had the urge to dive off the balcony; I was *that* caught up in the moment. Thankfully, I didn't have any voices in my head telling me that a leap from the railing would be cool. However, I must say I got teary-eyed during 'Real Cool Time' > 'No Fun' when Iggy did his usual invitation for fans to invade the stage and 50 or so punters obliged him, including Jello Biafra and Umlaut's Old Metal friend Mike Poser. My favorite gig moment this year: Iggy singing at the front of the stage flanked by Mike dancing up his shake appeal on one side and Jello attempting to dance on the other side. Priceless.

(Pic by Mike Poser)

Sidebar: I guess it was kinda "punk rock historic" to have Jello and Iggy onstage next to each other like that.. Maybe? Discuss amongst yourselves.

In celebration of Iggy's 60th (SIXTIETH!) Birthday: A fan threw a shirt onstage that said "Birthday Boy Iggy" in the Stooges logo font; Iggy looked genuinely surprised and touched. As the band came back for the encores they ad libbed 'Happy Birthday'; Iggy looked genuinely surprised and touched... after which they launched into '1969' that triggered a huge balloon drop from above the stage; Iggy looked genuinely surprised and touched. The sight of Iggy gleefully careening around the stage amidst the black and white balloons (the black ones had his image on them!) was beautiful... simply beautiful. Fuck Mick Jagger; IGGY!!

This was one of those shows where the Umlaut Nation was out in full force, so a shout out to The Sheriff, Capt. Fireball, Timo, Teri, Joey, Chris, Dan, Vicki, Loren, Mike, Erik, and Lisa. I left the house at 8:15PM and was back in my kitchen eating leftover sushi from dinner at 11:14PM.

As a nod to Iggy's birthday, and also to quality Rock merch, I wore my vintage Brockum-tagged 1988 Iggy tour shirt from the Umlaut Archives. If you bought one of every Stooges merch item you would have paid $281. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. After the month I just had, I couldn't think of a more appropriate show to see at this moment in my life... unless it was Black Sabbath with Dio on vocals.. and what are the odds THAT would be happening at this same moment in history too??

To be continued.....