April 15, 2019
The godfather of punk is certainly a big title.
Having been active since the second half of the 1960s and actively involved in shaping the foundation and creating the fertile ground that punk could blossom on, warrants it especially since I have yet to encounter anyone remotely interested in music at large that would dispute the status and merits of the maestro that was born as James Osterberg.
I’ve seen Iggy Pop in many incarnations – backed by his worthy constituents The Stooges, by himself reciting French poetry in the old world and throughout the nineties in a variety of hit and miss incarnations.
The 2019 incarnation of Iggy holding court of the Sydney Opera House was nothing short of an exquisite victory lap: Drawing on a back catalogue of hits, the performance flowed effortlessly with Iggy reigning supreme.
From the moment he graced the stage with his presence, the sold out audience was up on its feet and did not let up frenetically celebrating every song, every gesture, every wave and grimace the man emitted, who basked in but also seemed to sincerely appreciate the adoration extended to him, what he stands for and his life.
One could wax lyrical in a borderline academic manner about the pop cultural significance of hymns like Lust for Life, Passenger, Search and Destroy and pretty much every ditty that was part of tonight’s performance and originally served as the cataclysm, for underground movements they became anthems for.
However, tonight’s takeaway is that it apart from all the aforementioned it was an immensely, genuinely fun show whose intimacy helped create goosebumps moments galore.
It was great to see Iggy Pop in the flesh again – a man whose trials and tribulations defeat the very logic of existence and whose show does not have to rely on nostalgia: His vocal delivery based on his trademark baritone accentuated by the occasional screech was strong, on point throughout the show, the band a tight unit and his physical exercises, including the sleazed out dancefloor crawl and him frequently “rubbing” the audience’s appreciation into his pint sized bodily exterior, were graceful despite him being in his seventh decade of earthly existence, with especially the latter not being a feat commonly mastered by his peers.
A fulminant life-affirming incarnation of a prototype that has never been considered for mass production – he is still very much the streetwalkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
Photos by Prudence Upton (provided)