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Iggy Pop shows lust for life, Detroit at the Fox
DETROIT -- Iggy Pop hasn't lived in Michigan for ages. But on Thursday night, April 7, at the Fox Theatre, he clearly felt at home.
"You know where I'm from," the Ypsilanti-raised Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told the Fox crowd, on its feet from the first note of "Lust For Life" through Pop's protracted farewell at the end of the ferocious, hour-and-50 minute show. "There's not a f***ing place on Earth like Detroit, Michigan."
Pop didn't hammer the home town point too frequently during the show, but he did make asides to hitchhiking on I-94 -- "Would you pick me up or would I get killed first? I'm up for it!" -- and called the are his "natural habitat." "People are a little more f***ing real here than anywhere," Pop noted, thanking the crowd "for spawning me and keeping me alive with your magic dirty energy. There's no place like this. F*** Paris! F*** London! F*** New YOrk and L.A. 'cause you're the s*** right here!"
Pop even got guitarist Josh Homme, the Queens of the Stone Age leader who co-wrote and produced the new "Post Pop Depression" album to acknowledge that Detroit is his "f***ing favorite place," too -- as Royal Oak native Dean Fertita, Homme's QOTSA bandmate, beamed from the other side of the stage.
The bonhomme gave a bit of extra emotional heft to a show that probably would not have needed it, given Pop's tendency for charged, sometimes literally death-defying performances. At 68 and, by his own words, on perhaps his final outing, the chiseled and grizzled rocker wasn't quite as unbridled as he's been in the past, but the shirtless Pop still prowled the stage and beat his chest throughout the show, leaping, skipping and even making a brief dive into the crowd during a particularly furious "Fall In Love With Me."
More importantly on this tour, Pop is playing with arguably the best musical ensemble he's ever had and seemed to know it on Thursday. That's not to slight the seminal Stooges, but the Homme-led quintet, which includes half of QOTSA as well as Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, played with a sophisticated intricacy -- plenty of brute force, yes, but also incorporating textures and intricacies that gave Pop plenty of room to sing, which he clearly found inspiring.
The 21-song set list reflected that outlook, too. It drew from just three albums -- eight of nine songs from "Post Pop Depression" plus tracks from its template, Pop's two David Bowie-produced albums during the 70s -- but there was still plenty of variety, from industrial Tutonic gaits of "Sister Moonlight," "Mass Production" and "German Days" to the slinky groove of "Nightclubbing" and the full-on rock anthemry of "Sixteen," "Funtime" and "The Passenger." "Repo Man" was fire-breathing punk, while "China Girl," though different than Bowie's subsequent hit rendition, became an unspoken testament to Pop's fallen pal, with Homme and Fertita trading guitar solos during a long outro.
Pop peppered "Paraguay" with the pointed man-out-of-time rant from "Post Pop Depression" but he was quick to tell the Fox crowd "nothing personal. I love you very much" -- with a bright smile that made his sincerity clear. "Success," meanwhile drove the show to a galloping conclusion, and if this tour does prove to be Pop's swan song, he went out on a winning and, well, successful note in his home town.
Following Thursday's concert Pop made a brief visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) to take a look at the first showing of American Valhalla: The Art of Post Pop Depression. The exhibit -- which will also follow Pop tour stops in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Berlin, London and Paris -- featured 24 images by photographer Andreas Neumann for the album package and by drummer Matt Helders.
Several of the pieces were signed by Pop and the band members and offered for sale.
"This has cut down on my after-show drinking," Pop cracked after he toured the exhibit. But he felt the photos were, "been very nice. Everybody ends up documenting me one way or another, so this is the way this has been documented -- a little more formally than some of the others. But the stuff comes out, doesn't it?"
The exhibit is part of an integrated series of related "Post Pop Depression" projects which will also include a limited-edition coffee table book and a 30-minute documentary film which are expected out before the end of the year or in early 2017.
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