Notes on last night’s Stooges show

In the immortal words of Iggy Pop, I had “a real cool time” last night. My only complaint is that it wasn’t nearly loud enough.

Here, for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to score a ticket, or famous enough to get invited in, are a few short video clips that I shot. The quality isn’t great, but I hope that they at least give you some sense as to what it was like inside the Michigan Theater.

And here are a few random notes. Please take them for what they’re worth.

I’m not seeing a bunch of stuff showing up on YouTube yet, but here’s some nice footage of the band doing I Wanna Be Your Dog, which includes the 64 year old Pop crowd surfing.

According to, the show was being shot by director Jim Jarmusch, who is working on a documentary of some kind about Iggy. The two, as you might recall, worked together on 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes. Hopefully, while they were here, they got footage of Iggy walking around town, talking about how he used to work at the record store where Potbelly Sandwich Works now stands.

I found myself getting kind of weepy during the acoustic song that Iggy and Wiliamson performed in memory of Ron Asheton, not because it was particularly good, but because it made me consider the fact that, one day, I might be confronting the loss of my own bandmates. As for the song that Iggy wrote for Ron, I’d like to find the lyrics. I might be completely wrong, but it sounded to me like Iggy focused a bit too much on Ron’s jealousy of him, or at least his perception that Ron was jealous.

I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the addition of James Williamson to the lineup after the band had recorded their first two albums as The Stooges. My guess is that Ron didn’t like being put on bass after years of being the band’s guitar player, but I could be wrong. As Ron and James were in a band together before The Stooges, called The Chosen Few, it’s likely they could have been friends. It might even have been Ron’s idea to move over to the bass, taking the spot vacated by Dave Alexander. I’ve just always had in my head, though, that Ron saw it as a demotion. And, if that’s the case, I don’t know if it’s weird or beautiful that Williamson played all of Ron’s guitar parts last night. I suspect it must also be kind of strange for Wiliamson, as he’s got to know, at the back of his mind, that a similar tribute probably won’t happen for him when he dies.

Iggy tripped at some point and went crashing to the ground. I think it was upon getting back up that he made a comment about having to pull up his “trousers.” I found it funny that he called his pants trousers.

Speaking of trousers coming down, one of the guys that ran up on stage when Iggy asked people to come up and dance with the band was a skinny old dude with bleached hair and leather pants. Like Iggy, he wasn’t wearing a shirt. At some point during the number, his ass literally came popping out of his pants. I captured it in one of the above videos, so, if you’re into that kind of thing, check it out.

I made a comment about Henry Rollins being the Joe Piscopo of punk rock a few days ago on this site. I’m sorry about that. As one of my former bandmates reminded me before the show, as we sat eating chicken curry fries at Ashlee’s, he still plays our music on his radio show. And, for what it’s worth, he also did a pretty good job of introducing the band last night. If you’re curious, I got some video of that as well.

I don’t think anyone mentioned Dave Alexander, the Stooge’s first bass player, who died at 27 of pulmonary edema resulting from alcoholism. I felt kind of bad for him.

At some point near the end, someone in local government came out on stage to award Iggy the key to the city. It started kind of sweet, with the guy saying that he’d met Iggy when both were students at Tappan junior high, during the future rock star’s campaign for Student Council President. Iggy kind of blushed for a moment, and made an “awww shucks” kind of face, but then got back into character, unceremoniously throwing the key to the city it off-stage, and then beginning to mock masturbate, as the guy kept talking.

All in all, it was a great show, and I’m very happy that I could be a part of it.

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  1. Rack
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Your video makes Henry Rollins look like the whitest member of the Blue Man Group. And the most chatty.

  2. Bob
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    If memory serves, the Stooges were basically done and Iggy was writing a bunch of songs with Williamson. They were getting support from Bowie and Mainman. I think they couldn’t find a rhythm section they liked and ended up sending for the brothers and regrouping as Iggy & the Stooges. I think. It wasn’t really a power play for the guitar spot. Having said that, I thought Williamson played like a guy who put down the guitar for 25 years. His tone was great but I thought it was pretty stiff and sloppy. They sounded rougher than the shows I saw with Ron. Steve Mackay was the musical high point for me, his riffing during the slow stage clearing process was priceless. Rollins is a tool. I don’t think anyone there needed a droning lecture from professor Henry on what was important about the band. He could have accomplished everything in about a minute with his (probably bullshit) story about the rain forest people. Why is a very rich multi-media whore crashing on a grass mat in the hut of a family in the rain forest? I don’t know either. It was very cool to hear stuff like Shake Appeal and Your Pretty Face live though.

  3. Shevil
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Iggy. Many memories of nights spent dancing in under amplified, over enunciated mists of hard leather lipped testosterone and wet skinned fragrant sexuality. Strong slim hard wet loud throbbing blue blonde.

    It’s damn near impossible to see him live and not sleepily thrust yourself into bed with a man.

  4. Dirtgrain
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    What’s the deal with Henry Rollins? Sold out?

  5. Posted April 21, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Is this Kurt Cobain?

  6. Edward
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Shevil, for making me consider, for the first time in my life, what it must be like to make love to Iggy Pop.

  7. Nicole
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I had a great time! Of course, there are things that you can sit here and pick apart or bitch and moan about Rollins or someone’s playing but the fact of the matter is, that was a fantastically fun show. I loved the Shake Appeal crowd rush and Iggy seemed like he was genuinely enjoying himself.
    I was praying that the old punk rocker with his ass hanging out wasn’t going to completely loose his pants. I came terrifyingly close to seeing the rest of his junk.

  8. Mr. X
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I was struck by how well his voice had held out. I mentioned it to a friend and he pointed out that it’s because he never really screamed or tried to hit a lot of high notes. Young singers should take note. It’s not a bad strategy for longevity.

    And I was horrified by that other guy with no shirt, wearing those ridiculous pants. Who was he?

  9. K2
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I was going to post a link to a photo of the Cure’s Robert Smith, who turned 52 today, illustrating how remarkable it is that Iggy’s been able to preserve himself so well, but, when searching for a photo of the portly alt rocker, I stumbled across something truly weird. Did you know that Sean Penn was playing a Smith-like character in a new film? And, as if that weren’t weird enough, he doesn’t just play music. He hunts down Nazis.

  10. Dave
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the deal on the losing-his-pants-guy:
    Apparently he’s Jimmy Webb from “Trash and Vaudeville” – the NYC version of Vivian Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s “SEX” bondage fashion shop:

    Watch the first video on the page – apparently Iggy is his favorite person in the world!
    I understand that he flew in to A2 from NYC without a ticket but willing to shell out $500 for one – I guess he got one for much less, and then got a afterparty wristband from somebody later – one of my coworkers found all this out through a friend of her’s on facebook.

    And, I personally believe that it was no accident that his pants were like that- he was emulating his hero – I’ve seen Iggy do the same thing many times.

  11. T Timmons
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Mark, if you ever do interview him be sure to ask about his sluttish female alter-ego, Hyacinth.

    “An only child, James Newell Osterberg grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, an affluent city near Detroit. Though he rebelled against his father, a liberal school teacher, he wasn’t an obvious drop-out. Socially confident and good looking, he became his class vice-president at high school, and appeared destined for a career in politics. Then weirdo traits began to seep into his behaviour, such as his adoption of a sluttish female alter-ego called Hyacinth.”

  12. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hey, did I ever tell you guys that Henry Rollins is my boyfriend? Jeff knows…he’s cool with it. :)

    Also, I was behind a car today and their license plate started with EOS and I thought of this site! Just wanted to share! Carry on.

  13. West Cross
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Great show. I was surprised how bad the sound was, seems like they turned down the vocal mike down after every song and kept forgetting to turn it back up until the first few lines had been sung. Loved the opening act, the Space Age Toasters, looked like those kids were having a great time.

  14. Steph's Dad
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    My favorite line.

    “I need to thank Ron. He sort of peed this beautiful music all over me. When I started a band Ron was the first guy who got behind me. I owe him…I know he’s trying to flick ashes on my head from heaven right now.”

  15. Mike Shecket
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I heard this James Williamson interview on Michigan Radio a couple weeks back:

  16. jenanonymous
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    You were three or so rows behind me at the Stooges show, Mark. I spotted you when you ran up on stage with your camera. I totally wanted to say hi, but you ran away into a storm of awesomeness. So, hello.

    I’m captivatingly obsessed with the videos you took on stage because I didn’t get the chance to rush the stage. My friend ate a bad burger and wasn’t feeling super well, so I didn’t want to leave him stranded. When I saw you run by, I had to dig deep to hold myself back from following the crowd–only for the sake of a friend! Thanks for grabbing video of the moments I missed.

    Hope you had fun! I think the Stooges have officially melted my face. I’ve loved them for at least ten years now, but I think I had to see them live before I could really “know” them, you know what I mean?

    My friend, by the way, really toughed it out and felt much better by the end of the show. He thanked me at least five times for taking him to see the Stooges. So, I guess the moral of this story is that good hard rock can cure a lot of common ailments.

  17. Eel
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Iggy tells his audience to “occupy the stage” yesterday.

One Trackback

  1. […] the works for over three years. It started in early 2011, when I scored two hard-to-get tickets for the big Stooges reunion show at the Michigan Theater commemorating the passing of Ron Asheton. I offered to give one to my friend Dan on two conditions. First, he had to find a way to get […]

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