Yesterday was quite a day of unexpected, no-holds-barred, unadulterated full-on rockmania in Romoworld. At lunchtime, I happened to bump into all time splendid musician and most recently political campaigner Mr Captain Sensible staging a small but perfectly formed demonstration in Soho Square. I shamefully introduced myself, had my photo taken and had rather a good chat about well, politics really – oh and the fact that no one had rehearsed much for the 30 year reunion Damned gig at the 100 Club in April. What a lovely charming man he was. Very nice to meet you Captain if you are reading (which you said you would!). Mail addresses have been exchanged.
After all that excitement I skipped off down to the Royal Festival Hall for the second time in three days to meet another fellow enthusiast. This time it was Iggy and The Stooges. Where do I start? From the second Iggy Pop explo-skipped onto the stage in a characteristically foul-mouthed and very loud lurch I tell you I saw God. In his trademark brown-bare, flay-scarred chest, jeans and non-descript boots his stomach looked twisted and pulsated with his every out breath. The affected movement was disturbingly like the stirrings of ‘alien’ before it ripped forth in the film of the same title. I wondered if his back hurt – he’s formed a funny shape with all that long-term posturing. There were what looked like two car headlights either side of the drum podium. They flared unbearably bright and all I could think of was here we go, we are the passengers, this is the ride. By the second song Iggy had thrown himself into the stalls. By song four – No Fun – everyone from the stalls were free-forming, writhing and shouting onstage with little Iggy in the middle who was busy being stroked with sweaty furtive hands and being covered in utter adulation. Not bad for an OAP. But he’s not. He is a carefree, androdgynous child who flutters and twists and turns in the most fuck you but come and get me kind of way. He makes Mick Jagger look like a Girl Guide. The performance was faultless. A little sprite that no one could quite catch and he knew it. I think by the next song he had simulated intercourse with both the stage and the amp. Later on – he shagged the drum kit in full-flow. After that episode a roadie who was dressed in an unusual red and white country and western shirt re-adjusted the stands in a very businesslike but quite jobsworth manner. Meanwhile Iggy hoicked up his jeans, poured another bottle of water over himself and howled like a tortured minibeast. Another younger roadie ran on earnestly for the ninth time to wipe the stage with a towel. Iggy skipped over the debris. The band were tight tight tight. Incredible. The sound was impeccable. ‘I Feel Alright’ was particularly outstanding – the syncopated rhythms tumbling over each other at different speeds punctuated with Iggy’s grunts and further off-beat timing. Steve Mackay was introduced on saxophone – not everyone’s cup of tea but worked brilliantly in an X-Ray Spex kind of way. As the gig went on, Iggy became more and more theatrical – lots of hyena howling and slight narrative forays into the dark side. His shadow gianormous on the side wall as he pranced across the headlights – big Iggy satyr shadow. He played on his demanding side shouting like a petulant child for the lights to go on. Our arms reached out to him. We all felt exposed. I guess that was the point. A bit like sex with the light on. In the latter part of the evening he shouted for ‘a fucking beer’. It appeared stage right within 10 seconds. Awfully serious Country and Western shirt man again. Iggy downed it in all of 30 secs and then proceeded to smash it to bits on the mic stand. We all went wild. He is the consummate wild one. The disturbed child writhing and kicking indiscriminately at anything. Rolling around on the floor shouting, arched back, loving no one and doing exactly as he pleases. And then bam. Over. Lights up all gone. Iggy skipped off the way he came and the band just finished and left. The best way. Magical. I saw the light and it was Iggy and the Stooges. I will never be the same again.