We should all hope to stay as young as Iggy Pop.
Scampering and preening and limping and commanding, he led as masterful and powerful a pure rock and roll performance as rockers a third his age could ever dare to dream of.
James “Iggy Pop” Osterberg, born in 1947, led a crack band through a blazing set of his hits at the rescheduled conclusion of the Cruel World festival at Brookside Park at the Rose Bowl Sunday evening. (The show was quickly re-scheduled after Saturday night’s show was cut short following a National Weather Service Severe Weather Alert, and lightning in the sky)
Iggy came on stage just after 7 p.m. on a reconfigured festival layout, as the Saturday main stage had long been dismantled. Bare-chested, he looked every second of his 76 years, proudly displaying his leathery-skinned body, but topped by a still powerful voice. Close your eyes and listen, and you would have sworn this was a 28-year-old punk rocker in his prime.
The huge video monitors on either side of the stage displayed his years for all to see.
It’s been a lot of rock and roll years for the septuagenarian rocker, and he seemingly wouldn’t have it any other, even if he could.
As he once explained in a Rolling Stone interview, “I have a dislocated shoulder. I have a lot of cartilage lost in my right hip. Both knees are about to go. I have one leg about an inch and a half shorter than the other. When I was thirteen, I was run over by a big guy playing junior high football, and the right leg ended up a quarter-inch shorter. By my mid twenties, it was a half-inch.
“Then in the Eighties,” he continued, “I had no money and was taking packed economy flights everywhere, night after night. The combination of that schedule and a fall I took dancing on an amplifier left me with my spine twisted and a slight limp.”
And, opening with “Five Foot One,” from his 1979 New Values LP, he bared his soul from the get-go.
“I’m only five-foot, one
I got a pain in my neck
I’m looking up in the city
What the hell, what the heck?
I stare at the concrete
The girders eye high
The steel’s above me
Love in my eyes
And I’m doing the things
A five-foot one man can do..”
From there, his band, featuring new guitarist Sarah “Noveller” Lipstate, roared through a set that featured “Raw Power,” 1976’s “Lust for Life,” and “Ripoff,” along with“I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and “Search and Destroy” from his days with the Stooges, one of punk rock’s seminal outfits, before it was called punk rock.
It was over in a blinding flash, and it was dazzling.
As the early evening became under a crescent moon floating high above the arroyo, Siouxsie’s loyal and devoted audience hugged the main stage, drooling for a glimpse of their dark heroine, for her first US show in 15 years.
The 65 year-old singer first dazzled London audiences in 1976, with Siouxsie and the Banshees at the first crest of the new wave movement. She arrived in a silver lamé dress on the main stage, while appearing on the video monitors with layers of filters and black and white video effects, making her extended performance one long MTV video. (MTV was a music video channel in the early 80s, never mind…)
“The Pasadena Fire Department!,” she clucked. “My first American show in 15 years, and then come back next year? Uh uh.”
She continued, joking, “I tried to tell them that that lighting was part of our light show.”
She then opened with her 1991 single, “Kiss Them for Me,” and it was a dreamy, rocking, dark, and beautifully mesmerizing ride through the band’s career, to the excruciating delight of her adoring fans.
Gary Numan opened the live evening at 5:30, though most festival goers were still outside the venue, trapped in long entrance lines.
Promoters GoldenVoice also announced Sunday that partial refunds would be made available for those unable to attend Sunday’s show.