By Jonathan Zuckerman
You’d think with no opener, the main act would play a pretty long set. However, after making us wait for an hour and a half, The Stooges only gave us a measly seventy five minutes of music. Their set was packed with so much intensity though that it could hardly be considered a let down. There wasn’t a single dull moment and I left the venue completely satisfied.
That venue was Terminal 5 and this show took place on August 8th. The Stooges are one of the most no-frills bands ever. They keep their stage as stark as possible. All you see is a drum set flanked by two huge walls of amplifiers. No grand entrance for them. A flash of blond hair and Iggy Pop himself was there, just as you’ve always pictured him and in incredibly good shape for 61.
The set drew mainly from their self-titled debut album and its follow-up Funhouse. It hasn’t changed very much since they reunited in 2004. Iggy still invited the audience on-stage for “Real Cool Time” and “No Fun” only this time the security formed a wall around him so no one could get too close. Those overzealous guards couldn’t keep him from regularly hurling himself into the audience, they just fished him out as quickly as possible.
Towards the end of the set they changed things up a bit. Thankfully they played “Search and Destroy” which they had been avoiding due to the fact that it was originally recorded with a slightly different line-up. That was the only song off of the Raw Power album though. They also performed the somewhat surprising “I Got a Right” which closed the main set. Only two songs were played from their reunion album The Weirdness and that’s probably a good thing. It’s not that they aren’t good songs but they don’t live up to the classics which are what everyone really wanted to hear anyway.
The Stooges were never ones for big surprises and flashy stage shows. It didn’t matter to me at all though. There were a few moments during the show when I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This is what Rock and Roll really is.” Their music is very primal. The songs are simple and repetitive but absolutely not boring and there’s Iggy, completely consumed by the sound and barking out brilliantly basic lyrics like, “Skull Ring/Fast cars/Hot chicks/Money.” Watching him dance and sing, one feels like they are in the presence of a modern shaman of all things cool.
The show may sound like nothing out of the ordinary but these days music that pure and genuine is unordinary. The opportunity to see true legends like these doing what they do best is a special experience no matter what. I still don’t understand why they play “I Wanna Be Your Dog” twice but I definitely had a real cool time myself and I think the rest of the audience did too.
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