It’s been a long, hard trip for Iggy Pop. Having created a blueprint for rock’s brutal future while lesser mortals still weaved flowers through their hair, he entered the 70s without a deal, plagued by addiction and with no one to fight his corner, other than Bowie.
Producing Raw Power, a work of influential genius, Iggy’s ignominy only persisted. Medicined beyond reason, bottled offstage at The Stooges’ final show and adopted as an object of ridicule by the press, Iggy was washed up. Friendless. Other than Bowie. Again.
Encouraged to accentuate his lower register in Berlin by his eternal champion at the mixing desk, Iggy reinvented the future yet again with The Idiot and Lust For Life, even as punk adopted his work with The Stooges as the bedrock of their movement. Vindication? You’d think. Yet Iggy in ’78 was still dissatisfied. Self-mutilating as a weapon against any supposed slight from a hostile audience, the world’s forgotten boy had a lot of anger to exorcise before allowing himself to accept and enjoy success.
From cult heroics through Trainspotting rebirth to car insurance puppet ubiquity, Iggy was alternative rock’s comfortable old cardigan. But it wasn’t enough. Approaching 70, Iggy needed one final push to achieve the mainstream stardom he deserved. And it came with Post Pop Depression. Working with QOTSA’s Josh Homme, Iggy recaptured the old Berlin magic and created a masterpiece. And it sold.
Success, in the last ditch, was finally his. And all roads led to the Royal Albert Hall. On May 13, 2016, Iggy – backed by Homme, Dean Fertita, Matt Helders, Troy Van Leeuwen and Matt Sweeney – took to the stage of the RAH and basked in the adulation of a capacity crowd of fans unafraid to show how much they loved him. It’s a heartwarming spectacle as Iggy, embraced and accepted at last, produced the performance of his life.
In between bouts of waving, grinning and crowd-surfing, there’s 120 minutes of perfectly executed material taken largely from PPD and the Berlin era. There are no Stooges songs – this was Iggy’s night. There’s a magic moment as Homme nails Tonight’s guitar solo and casts the audience a glance that says: “Not bad, eh?” But it’s the slight figure at centre stage, finally enjoying his long-awaited happily ever after, who invariably shines brightest.