Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on Jun 20th 2010 12:35PM by Liisa Ladouceur
Headlining a free outdoor concert as part of NXNE, the Detroit punk legends attracted half the city (OK, more like 10,000) to downtown's Yonge-Dundas Square for a ferocious 90-minute show. The surrounding streets were shut down early in the evening, but the bodies kept arriving, pushing their way into position. And then Iggy Pop lept onto the stage to the opening chords of 1973's 'Raw Power,' and instantly transformed the seething mass of fans into one giant pogoing, screaming, extremely sweaty pit of joy.
"We're the remains of the f---ing Stooges," Pop shouted early on, "and before we die, we're going to do it with you."
The 63-year-old singer did a lot of things to that crowd.
He pummelled them with 'Search and Destroy.' He thrilled them with his bare-chested virility. He teased them with his wit and satisfied them with his killer vocal style, still in full effect. And if he's not quite the real wild child who will literally open up and bleed anymore, the very fact that he can be invited to scream out 'Cock in My Pocket' in a heavily corporately controlled, family-friendly city landmark is reason enough to thank Pop and his bandmates (in this case, 'Raw Power'-era Stooges Scott Asheton and James Williamson, plus saxophonist Steve McKay and bassist Mike Watt) for everything they've done over the past 40 years, and continue to do.
There were problems. Much of the square's sightlines were blocked by sponsor and vendor tents. And not one of the dozen jumbotron-sized video screens looming over the square was used to broadcast the performance to the thousands of fans straining at the back for glimpse of anything at all. Instead, the crowd was subjected to the usual barrage of blinding, blinking ads. ('TV Eye,' indeed.) But few could complain -- even at the very back, white punks on dope made their own fun. While at the front, a few dozen fortunate fans clawed their way onto the stage with the band.
"We're lonely up here," explained Pop. "I wish you could all get up on the stage with us. That's not going to work, except through the power of imagination." But then he pulled a few up, and more followed, including Sharin Foo of opening act the Raveonettes, rushing in from the backstage wings.
And for a while, it was like a club show up there, band and audience feeding off each other in close quarters. For the rest of us, it was more pushing and shoving and revelling in 'I Wanna Be Your Dog.' And at the end, not even the slipshod (albeit first-ever live) delivery of the downer ballad 'No Sense of Crime,' which Pop described as about the "misery of my youth....and yours" could kill the buzz.
Ending with 'No Fun' was a little ironic, don't you think?