Scene one. Avalon, a ballroom, a Friday night. Music: from the PA, a field recording of a polyrhythmic African chant, straight from the veldt. Enter, stage left: IGGY POP (James Osterberg), the street-walking cheetah, heart full of napalm; and a three-piece hard-rock band, like a smaller, sloppier, louder Guns Ní Roses. Iggy is stripped to the waist, lean, sleek, explosive, constitutionally incapable of standing still. He has a dancerís body, plastic wrap over a wiry frame of gristle and bone, and in his movements there are lines of a savage grace, a plié and a pirouette executed simultaneously in opposite directions, like two ballet dancers trying to fight their way out of the same bag of skin. A war cry: "Yah!", a mid-air twist, limbs akimbo, a dance heís danced for 30 years, but now to a new song called "Mask." Iggy, screaming: "Where is the soul? Where is the love? WHERE THE FUCK AM I?"
Scene two. Iggy snakes like a runway model, sings a cannibal love song, "Drink New Blood." Iggy screams: "Violent! Infantile! Outburst!" Song doesnít so much end as twitch and veer sharply to the right and become an old song, Iggyís best ever, "Search & Destroy." Iggy bursts into flame, his head comes clean off, his body keeps shaking: he falls to his knees, plops his head back on, screams: "Somebody gotta save my soul! Detonate for me!" Mayhem: room seems to shake, bodies flying, love in the middle of a firefight. And then the gloves come off.
Scene three. Iggy, speaking to the audience: "There is a serious motherfucking riptide at the mouth of the American dream." Band begin to play the Jerry Lee LewisĖpopularized "Real Wild Child (Wild One)." Iggy: "Are you ready for it, you fuckiní asswipes?" Beats himself like an ape, hangs as if from an invisible cross.
Scene four. "I Wanna Be Your Dog," and the wah-pedal guitar makes a sound like a watery grave. No retreat, no surrender: Iggy dives into the audience, is dragged back on stage by guards, throws them off, dives in again. Climbs back under his own power, cuts off the band: now itís just the drummer, playing an African beat. Iggy: "I need some fuckiní love! You canít hide from me! No you canít!" Rock and roll walking like a man: a desperate animal with his brains leaking from his nose, and in the air the smell of amyl nitrate and baby powder.
Scene five. Iggy: "I see fake rap. I hear fake punk. I donít like what I hear. But I kinda like what I see tonight. One, two, three!" Band pin audience to the back wall with Brick by Brickís "Home," a song about how everyone needs one, and how Iggyís got one: itís wherever you lose your head. Band kick into "Passenger," which is arranged like a Jesus Lizard song, scraped and bleeding. Iggy croons it like cabaret: "All of this was made for you and me." Then, suddenly ó Iggy, screaming: "Iím not comfortable all alone! Get up here! Get the fuck up here you motherfucker!" One man leaps on stage and others follow, clambering over security guards. Iggy: "THIS IS HOW MUSIC CHANGES! IT HAS REAL LIFE AND REAL ENERGY WHEN YOU PUT PEOPLE IN IT! THIS IS REAL LIFE!!" And then there are dozens of people on stage, dancing and waving and boogeying with the guitar player and singing "La, la, la, la, la-la-la-la." The people just keep coming, and as the song ends, they lift Iggy off his feet and over their heads as if to carry him off. Band play "I Got a Right." Band play "Cold Metal." Iggy poses like Rodinís Thinker, then like Dracula spreading his cape. Exeunt.
Scene six: Encore. Iggy: "Turn on the lights, asswipe! All of íem, hear? Showtime is over, itís music time! My favorite time! For music lovers only!" Band play "Death Trip," "TV Eye," "L.O.S.T." Exit. Iggy returns, nods gravely, waves. Exeunt omnes.
BY CARLY CARIOLI
Issue Date: November 15 - 22, 2001