Someone had a real good time the other night. Stooges fans Mark Breshears and David Bernstein write in with their experiences at the Warfield on Saturday, April 21. Love the black and silver balloon drop in honor of Iggy Pop's 60th b-day that night (most memorable salutation from the crowd - "Happy birthday, you fuck!").
Our man in the scene is...somewhere up there.
Photos by Kimberly Chun.
Mark Breshears: So I saw the Stooges last night and it totally rocked. Iggy was on fire, and it was great to see Mike Watt play bass with him. It was a dream come true. A two-'fer-one. The old songs were great to hear, especially "Dirt." I've seen Iggy many times (seven) and have probably seen most of the songs performed last night live at least once (besides the new ones, of course). I've never seen him do "Dirt" before, one of my favorites songs ever, and it was excellent. The songs held up and more so.
It was Iggy's 60th birthday, and we all sang Happy Birthday to him two-thirds of the way through. It was great to see the Asheton brothers playing with him like the old days. I loved and adored the Stooges records growing up and looked up to Ron as a guitar hero. That being said, I think Watt, another hero of mine, kept the band tight and rockin' like no one else. Without him, or Iggy of course, this thing would not have been as good.
Dare you to look away from the Igg-meister.
The highlight: Iggy, during "Down on the Street" (I think - I was wasted), asked people to come up and join him. I've seen the clips on the Internet of this and knew that he was inviting people onto the stage. Without hesitation I was bumping and pushing people out of the way as I made my way onto the stage. There were a few in front of me getting up, but I knew I'd make it. I raised myself up with others pushing up on me making it easy to get on stage. I danced and jumped and acting crazy during the song. I heard it winding down.
I thought, "I need to get to Iggy."
I walked up and grabbed Iggy's shoulder: "You're the greatest."
He gazed at me with those intense eyes (more intense than I ever knew) and sized me up and offered up the mic (some may say I grabbed it). Without hesitation: "Fuck, yeah, motherfuckers - fuck, yeah, motherfuckers!! Fuck, yeah." I could hear my voice reverberate throughout the theater. The only time I'll ever get to use a mic in front of that many people or at the Warfield. "Fuck, yeah, motherfuckers!" wishing I had something more original to say but loving every second of it.
He cracked a smile. It made my night.
The guy in the blue shirt, the stage manager, yanked away the mic. They broke into "No Fun," one of my favorites. The song started and I danced at the front of the stage looking for my friends out in the audience who were easy to spot. Awesome.
After the first verse I thought "Watt." I went and watched Watt: "You're the greatest!" He looked at me and smiled. I was singing along with the lyrics, totally rockin' out. He looked at me playing his Gibson SG natural bass, sized me up, and we starting singing together. No mic, just us singing along to each other. "No fun, my babe, no fun...." It was rad. I heard the solo and had to go see Ron play it for real. He was using a Fender, type of Tornado or Jaguar hybrid, with Modern Vintage Marshall amps and plenty of wah. After the solo, I ran back to the front of the stage, acted the fool some more, arms in the air and jumping and singing until the end of the song.
We were led out and as I left, I told Watt, "You're the best. I love you, man." He shook my hand with what I felt was sincere gratitude.
The rest of the show was a blur. They played many more Stooges classics, which were great, but I didn't care. The new songs sounded good. My night was already made great by an experience I'll live with forever. Only two people used Iggy's mic that night; me and him. [Editor's note: One other member of the audience got in some mic action too.] It was truly a "Real Good Time."
David Bernstein: OK, I admit it: I have only one Iggy Pop record, which is Raw Power, and it's on vinyl, and I haven't listened to it in so long I don't know where it is. Nevertheless, when I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to Iggy's 60th birthday jam with the Stooges at the Warfield last Saturday I snatched it up like a hungry dog.
And not only me: standing outside in the blustery drizzle before the show was a curious cross-section of Bay Area musical fandom: aging boomers eager to see a show by one of their teenage punk idols; shaggy veterans of the local music scene who rarely crawl out from under their mixing boards; pierced, shaved, and stapled youngsters hoping to get a glimpse of punk before it went Brewster. Especially memorable was the yuppie guy pacing out front, yelling into his cell phone: "...And now it's sold out, and because of you, I can't see the Stooges!"
Back in the day.
Once inside we snaked our way to a choice spot, stage right, just before it got too packed down on the floor to get your own beer up to your mug. The crowd was juiced and primed, and when the Stooges' original lineup (with Mike Watt on bass) launched into the first number - with Iggy leaping manically racing onstage seconds later - it was a creamy smooth lovefest for the next 90 sweat-soaked, mosh-pitted, and stage-dived minutes.
Seriously, somebody needs to tell Iggy he's fucking 60 fucking years old because judging by the way he swirled, pranced, yowled, pirohuetted, and generally mayhemed about for the entire set, plus two encores, he obviously doesn't know or has no idea what it means. All the while, the Stooges blasted through their songs, and the crowd joyfully soaking it up and squirting it back, literally packing the stage at one point.
All of my rock posters from days of yore have either bit the dust or the dustbin, but I grabbed a new one on the way out after the show. Maybe I'll even frame it.