The iguana shook the rock. A no-brainer for the ultimate rocker.
Officially he wanted to offer a concert “in a jazz spirit”, far from the furious rock of his beginnings in the 60s. But when embarking on his first real French tour for 30 years, Iggy Pop changed his mind. At 75, the Iguana wanted to show all the facets of its repertoire he who knew how to bring rock back to life in the mid-1970s, before becoming a crooner or singing Michel Houellebecq.
Yesterday evening at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo, All-Monaco is on its 31 – some even took out jeans for the occasion. After a soporific film, the room is plunged into darkness allowing the seven musicians to settle down. Guitarist Sarah Lipstate grabs a bow and launches into a long psychedelic introduction, more reminiscent of Tortoise than the Stooges. Then the barking of dogs invades the space and here is Iggy Pop who arrives, dark suit, shirtless – direct view of his pecs. The brass resonates “Five Foot One” excellent opening song, unearthed from the album “New Values”.
“Hello Motherfuckers” launches Iggy, who runs from one end of the room to the other, despite a dragging leg, lets herself be carried away by the abrasive guitars of Sarah and her Le Havre accomplice Greg Fauque. “Loves missing” slows down the tempo, but from the first chords of “TV Eye” the Forum Grimaldi gets up and never sits down again. Iggy dances, twirls around, swings his arms in the air, proudly approaches the first rows, touches the gentlemen who implore him with their gaze and above all sings like the living God that he is. The all-too-rare “The Endless sea” allows the Iguana to catch his breath – he suddenly looks like a British Lord in his fitted suit, a thousand miles from the totally stoned guy he was in the 70s and 80… “Now we are all going to die”, he announces to launch “Death trip” song which closes the disc “Raw Power”.
The Monegasques slump willingly, delighted to hear electric guitars shaking the walls. But Iggy is a smart old monkey. Here he is attacking “Mass Production” extracted from “The idiot” his famous first solo album, produced by David Bowie, recorded at the Château d’Hérouville in the Paris region, and which imposed as obvious the mixture of electronic sounds and rock. Suddenly, Iggy reminds us how much Bowie was the architect of his resurrection, how beneficial this cocaine dive into the deconstruction of the myth of rock was. Stretched over more than 8 minutes, “Mass Production” sounds like the summit of a concert, which will soon start again at top speed.
As the band plays ‘Free’ Iggy steps out to change, comes back in a studded leather jacket and spits out ‘Gimme Danger’. So yes at the time Iggy freaked out when he yelled “Swear you’re gonna feel my hand”. Now he takes all the necessary distance to sing these words, the irony of his own existence – he who could have died 100 times and who has become an institution. So might as well play this card thoroughly! When the first chords of “Lust for Life” resound, Monaco let itself be overwhelmed by rock fever. Then Iggy, now shirtless, asks “you wanna pick me up babe?” And here is “The passenger”. It was enough to make the principality exult. On keyboards, Florian Pelissier enjoys digressing when the rhythm section (Tibo Brandalise on drums and Sylvain Ruby on bass) runs at 100 an hour. “I wanna be your dog” puts an end to the antics, Iggy playing the mutt thoroughly, sticking out his tongue, hiding his microphone in his pants, rolling against the walls of the room. Finally some fun in monac’
Tour producer Alain Lahana smiles “you saw a little jazz in the first hour, now he’s going to rock”. Not a little proud of his joke, Alain, who has brought Iggy to France since 1978, knows how much “Jim” likes to be where you least expect him, he who waited two years before seeing his concerts come true. As a reminder, “Sister Midnight” allows him to present his musicians when “Run like a villain” rarely played, is the only evening title surviving from the 80s and 90s… Seated, Iggy introduces “I’m sick of you” as a title on “interrupted love, a little dirty thing written a long time ago when I was part of the Stooges”. And if he shows himself to be more of a crooner than ever in the first part of the track, it’s only to explode better in the finale. “Here in Monaco, you are lucky to live in a very beautiful place, in a very beautiful world, so I’m going to ask you to make a little noise to scare our neighbors, that we show them ‘a little bit of shit” he then asks to make the crowd roar.
Then mister Osterberg says: “When everyone said that rock was dead, it was in West Germany that we still believed in it. So the next song you don’t know, because it’s a cover of the group Neu! But it is time to fix this mistake!” Indeed Iggy Pop gives with this “Hero” the key to what he and Bowie (we come back to it) found in this Berlin of the 70s: a creative energy, an abandonment of classic formats, a musical and spiritual quest that would lead to total reinventions. The ensemble looks great, carried by the duo of guitarists, who without ever occupying the light, build a particularly impressive wall of sound. “Nightclubbing” almost puts an end to the party, a song from the aftermath of debauchery and loneliness that Iggy interprets with emotion.
He could go on this ride, third and last extract from “The Idiot”. But no. The riff of “Search and destroy” makes the first rows jump. Again untenable Pop ensures the show, even in front of the wisest public in the world. Delighted to put a grain of madness in a peaceful life, to show that rock is not music but a state of mind. And happy to have traveled back in time, surrounded by a few ghosts, without ever sinking into nostalgia or backwardness. It’s even quite the opposite.
May 19 Setlist, Monaco, Forum Grimaldi
1/ Five Foot One
2/ Love’s missing
3/ TV Eye
4/ The Endless Sea
6/ Mass Production
8/ Gimme danger
9/ Lust for Life
11/ I wanna be your dog
12/ Sister Midnight
13/ Run like a villain
14/ I’m sick of you
17/ Search and destroy
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Last night in Monaco… Iggy Pop
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