CONCERT COVERAGE: IGGY POP |The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

post pop depression tour

Words By: Gerrod Harris

Following the release of his highly acclaimed record, Post Pop Depression (you can read my review of the album here), Iggy Pop, along with his all-star band, led by Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, along with Dean Fertita, Matt Helders, Troy Van Leeuwan, and Matt Sweeny, performed a jaw dropping set at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on April 9th.

The band kicked off their set with “Lust For Life”, waiting for Pop to jump out from backstage at what felt as much of an unpredictable moment to the audience as it did to the band.  When he did, he threw himself centre stage, jumping, shaking, and waving his arms as he ran from one side of the stage to the next, wearing a suit, and would soon lose the jacket within a few songs, looking far more familiar and iconic shirtless.  On a similar note, there were also two occasions where Toronto almost saw Pop, in a traditional manner, whip out his dick; something he would regularly do in the 70’s, and is still known to do from time to time, both times pulling at his pants, and even saying at one point, “it can all just come out”, to which Homme quickly utters “please don’t”.  From the very moment he entered onto the stage, Pop’s personality was at the very forefront; his simple presence is larger than life and can be felt from anywhere within the theater.  While he is much older, his every movement and action seemed not only so natural, but full of youth demonstrating little sign of age in that regard. I truly believe that Pop has the time of his life every time he steps foot in front of an audience.

He would continue his set in a near constant state of motion, taking very little time to stop, even during slow songs such as “Mass Production” and “Tonight”. His near two hour set was filled with classics from his early solo records, The Idiot and Lust For Life as well as new material written with Homme, as heard on Post Pop Depression, which was performed in its entirety, with the exception of the mostly acoustic “Vulture”.  Songs like “Sunday”, “Break Into Your Heart”, and “German Days” were made for the stage and were as exciting to hear as his iconic works from the past, of the likes of “Lust For Life” and “Sistermidnight”.  Pop, the seasoned front man and show stopper, also took much time to appreciate the sold out audience, offering the “big fucken T” numerous “great big fucken thanks baby”, as he frequently asked for the houselights to be turned on to see us, and would jump into the audience a number of times, even choosing to sing most of “Fall In Love With Me” while walking through the rows.  While each song seemed to be greeted with much excitement from the audience, highlights included his performances of “Passenger” which erupted in a sing along through the anthem like chorus; the David Bowie penned “China Girl”, which resulted in Pop bringing a fan up on stage to dance, as well as an impressive guitar solo from Homme; the raunchy, shuffling boogie of “Nightclubbing”, and the hard hitting “Repo Man”.

Pop’s voice, while sounding fuller and slightly older, is still bursting with immense energy and can be as soft or as aggressive as he chooses.  On a number of times he let out some impressive, throat wrenching screams and continued to sing as if nothing had just happened.  His harmonies along with the entire band, but especially Homme, were exceptional, adding a rich layer to each of his songs.  It goes without saying that his band was as tight as could be, but what stood out the most was Homme’s guitar playing which tastefully weaved between the other melodic parts-whether it be keyboards or other guitars- in an improvisatory, jam-like manner which danced around the main lines and riffs, adding a very unique aspect to the show.    Rather than feeling like sidemen to a solo artist, the chemistry between Pop and all members of the band was very organic and authentic, making for a perfect combination.

As Homme recently said in an interview, for this tour they are only choosing to play in “small beautiful theaters where our presence might still seem disruptive”.  Between the two of them, they brought enough sleaze and sexually charged debauchery to Toronto’s classiest theater.  While Pop is no longer rolling around shirtless in broken glass or spitting on the crowd, there still is a certain aggressive streak in his actions, despite his wide, genuinely welcoming grin.  From the way he kicks the mic stand or a stool  to the ground, or how he throws himself over the edge of the stage, Pop’s antics demonstrate not only the personality in which he carved through his career, but also just how much fun and enjoyment he gets from being in front of an audience.  “And there he goes,” a slightly sarcastic, but mostly in awe Homme says as Pop slithers into the front row of the audience for the first time of the night, just to say hi to a few fans, who seconds later will help him back up on stage.  It is in moments like this that Pop is defined; he’s a man who plays by his own rules with little regard for typical convention and enjoys his love affair with the stage; he’s a straight up punk, still to this very day.  While Post Pop Depression very well may be Pop’s recording swansong, he has not commented if this tour will also mark his curtain call.  I certainly hope not, but if it is, then he is certainly going out on top, as his Toronto performance was the work of a legend and will be something many, myself included, will never forget, and will likely refer to as one of the best they had seen.  A true inspiration, Pop continues to inspire and amaze and is worthy of far more recognition for his contributions to rock , his longevity, and his tendency to be a musical chameleon.  After all, he’s Iggy Fucken Pop, the godfather of punk; a manifestation of all that is rock ‘n’ roll.

Iggy Pop’s Setlist:

1: Lust For Life

2: Sistermidnight

3: American Valhalla

4: Sweet Sixteen

5: In The Lobby

6: Funtime

7: Tonight

8: Sunday

9: German Days

10: Mass Production

11: Nightclubbing
12: Gardenia

13: Passenger

14: China Girl

15: Break Into Your Heart

16: Fall In Love With Me

17: Repo Man

18: Baby

19: Chocolate Drops

20: Paraguay

21: Success

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