Live Shots: Iggy Pop at the Warfield

Pub date December 5, 2011
WriterEmily Savage

It had been a long wait to see Iggy Pop live (not like, Morrissey-long, but more like three months later than anticipated). When I spoke with Pop back in September, he was ecstatic to be out on the road again.

He was in France at the time, prepping in his hotel room before a big show – a concert he’d planned to follow up with an evening of wine and French television with his lady friend. We talked about cartoons, his image, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and American Idol.

He told me that on this tour, he’d be playing, “All of Raw Power, some of Fun House, some songs from the eponymous debut The Stooges, and some stuff that was too hot to handle, too raw for the times — stuff that came out on bootlegs in the ’70s like ‘Cock in My Pocket,’ ‘Open Up and Bleed,’ ‘Head on the Curve.’” So I was, understandably, equally ecstatic to see him live. Shortly thereafter, he broke his foot (after seeing him last night at the Warfield, I now realize how easily that could happen) and the tour was cut short.

Finally in San Francisco, on a windy  December evening, Pop tore the paint off the walls with the sheer enormity of his stage presence, pumping with rock’n’roll energy and yes, raw power. These were my favorite moments from the night:

10 great bits about Iggy Pop’s show at the Warfield (hint: the band plays the venue again Tuesday night):
1. Pop and Co. running out on stage and immediately launching into a frenzied “Raw Power.” No opening chit-chat, no fuss.
2. The quick-fire follow-up to that first song was ultimate punk anthem, “Search and Destroy.” Fist pumps.
3. Seeing guitarist James Williamson and saxophonist Steve Mackay a.k.a “Mr. Fun House” (as Pop described him) in the flesh.
4. Mike Watt’s cherry red bass, forever-entertaining facial expressions, and jerky movements.
5. Speaking of movement, Pop’s taut, brown leathered skin, and the noodling snake contortions he does with it.
6. Pop writhing “like a cat!” (as the couple behind me kept shouting), on top of one of the speakers, posing.
7. The band inviting “99 percenters” – and every one else – from the crowd on stage for one song, and Pop instructing them to “shake a little,” adding, “I would!”
8. The threatening, heart-pumping, supersexy guitar riff in “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
9. Pop stage-diving during “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
10. Pop stage-diving during “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and not breaking his foot.