Iggy Pop Live in Basel Encore Screening at The Festival Theatre was one cinematic event I had been looking forward to since it first appeared on the theatre’s schedules. I think the first time that I became aware of Iggy Pop and his music was his “Raw Power” album with The Stooges back in the 1970s, and of course that sound influenced so many of the Punk/New Wave bands of my youth.
This session was recorded on 24 October 2015 at the Baloise Session in Basel, Switzerland, where he was honoured with a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award and so many of the early songs that I remember were performed here by Iggy...”The Passenger”, “Lust For Life”, “I’m Bored”, “Wild One” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog” to name-check but a few.
The Festival Theatre has the largest digital screen in Scotland, so image and sound quality were very sharp here. Is an unmerciful digital camera kind to a nearly 70 year old Iggy Pop on a giant screen as he goes about his stage antics in his trademark topless performance?...maybe not, but who cares (certainly not Iggy Pop). Age may have mellowed Iggy a little but at least he can now overcome that compulsion to remove his trousers on stage at this point in his life…although it was looking risky at one point.
Iggy Pop was in classic form for this show being just as engaging and at times confrontational with his audience as ever, and that audience made up of all ages (as was the audience for this screening) was loving every minute of it. The power of the music of Iggy Pop is certainly still there and what is still obvious is that this is a showman who just loves being on-stage in front of an audience. Iggy needs no huge production numbers, giant sets and video screens to perform on stage, just himself and his music.
With Iggy on stage for this show were
Kevin Armstrong / Guitar
Seamus Beaghen / Guitar, Keyboard
Ben Ellis / Bass Guitar
Mat Hector / Drums
This show was recorded a few months before Iggy Pop’s long time friend and at times musical collaborator David Bowie sadly passed away in January this year, so sadly for me out of three of the musical heroes of my youth that I always associate together – Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Lou Reed, he is the only one left now.
Iggy Pop will never age gracefully on stage, and I hope he continues doing what he does at times disgracefully for as long as he can.
Iggy Pop has had a very long and winding career as a performance artist. For a brief overview, this Wikipedia page is well worth a read.
Review by Tom King