|Iggy and The Stooges performing Raw Power + Suicide Performing Their First LP - Hammersmith Apollo, Sunday May 2nd, 2010|
Radiation in the dead of night…
It was an amazing feeling walking up to Hammersmith Apollo and seeing ‘Iggy and The Stooges’ in lights outside – fantastic! I saw their triumphant gig here a few years ago when they reunited to perform Fun House to an ecstatic crowd and they really seemed to encapsulate the sound of pure nihilistic, transcendent rock ‘n roll. Sadly Ron Asheton died last year and I thought that may be the end of the Stooges, however, there was really only one man to carry things forward and that was James Williamson. Once Iggy had called him and they decided to perform Raw Power in its entirety over two nights, the rush for tickets was immense and the sense of expectation incredible.
I’ve seen Iggy many times over the past few decades, four times on the ’88 tour being especially memorable, as he had Andy McCoy on guitar with him and they did a lot of the Raw Power / Kill City material then and it was really incredible, truly life enhancing. Seeing Iggy do these songs with the guys who played on the original recordings and indeed wrote the songs was something else though.
Firstly however, Suicide set the stage perfectly, Martin Rev and Alan Vega came on to a hypnotic beat and a stage bathed in a stark white light and performed their staggering debut album Suicide. ‘Ghost Rider’ was immense and really levelled the place, and the crowd were suitably entranced. The sound was really powerful, and its easy to see how influential and ahead of their time they truly were, and to this day they still sound at once of our time and simultaneously beyond it.
Love in the middle of a firefight…
After a short intermission, Iggy and The Stooges burst on to the stage and performed a blitzkrieg ‘Raw Power’ that immediately announced this was going to be a killer show. This was followed by achingly briiliant versions of two of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time – ‘Search and Destroy’ + ‘Gimme Danger’. There was a sense of collective levitation in the venue and James Williamson’s guitar really seemed to bleed napalm.
The songs kept building on top of one another and Iggy’s performance got even more intense and energetic as the set progressed, with staggering performances of ‘Penetration’, ‘Shake Appeal’ (with stage invasion), ‘Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell’, a heartbreaking ‘I Need Somebody’ and a killer ‘Death Trip’. The band (Mike Watt on Watt, Scott Asheton on Drums, Steve Mackay on Sax and occasional Keyboards, James Williamson on Guitar!) really locked solidly throughout and they proceeded to really destroy the venue with fantastic song segues such as ‘I Gotta Right’ into ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. ‘Fun House’ and ‘LA Blues’ helped give brief respite in the truly electrically charged atmosphere, before the climactic songs of ‘1970’ and a triumphant ‘Kill City’.
I personally really enjoyed hearing the lesser-played Stooges songs like ‘Cock in my Pocket’ and especially ‘Open Up and Bleed’ too, the latter of which was truly exceptional. All too soon (well, after an hour and a half that seemed to fly by in a few hypnotic seconds) the show came to a climax, and amidst a sea of feedback and rock and roll radiation, Iggy said something like ‘When we recorded this album we were young and everyone said it was shit, well now we’re old and we’re gonna die, but we’ve done it, thanks London for letting us do it!’
It was perfect…