Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ziggy Pop

Bowie in Berlin, Mme Akriche

Berlin - I remember Iggy, and of course Bowie. Someone told me the name of the street where David lived, so I spent the day walking up and down (it was a very long street) looking at all the name plates but never found his name ...

Lifted from an email from my sister.  Can you just imagine a 17 year old Scouse girl in 1977, exploring Berlin, looking for Bowie?  Expecting to find a name plate reading "Bowie, D."  Sis, for your information the address was Hauptstra├če 155. And now you can do a Bowie Berlin street tour.

 
Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood in the 1970s

Every now and again I think to myself . . . I wonder what are the top five gigs I've been to. Near the top of the list is the Thin White Duke's 70's buddy Iggy Pop.   Over the years I've been to a lot of gigs. Some of them great, some of them average, some of them dire. Forget most, remember some (but don't take none away).  And after all this time I've forgotten a lot of the good ones. I really have forgotten more than these whippersnappers'll ever know.  I was listening to Mink deVille the other day and thought oh, yeah, I saw them in 1978. I'm sure it was good but I don't remember it at all.

My advancing years don't mean I've forgotten all of them - here's a few . . . Peter Gabriel's Genesis (Lamb Lies Down in Liverpool), Tangerine Dream in a cathedral, Five Live Stiffs, early Teardrop and the Bunnymen, the Clash at an ice rink, the Specials at a riot; with twelve people at a Cabaret Voltaire gig and 80,000 for The Who at Wembley Stadium.  Pere Ubu, Suicide, Red Crayola.

From the early '80s there was a long break when I wasn't really interested anymore - with just a few old warhorses (Elvis Costello and David Byrne) dragging me into concert halls.  From 2000 onwards there was a resurgence but these were a different sort of gig, usually some itinerant troubadour, who would travel around the country, by car or train, with a guitar, a bag of songs and a weary countenance.  And some of those have been Best Gig Ever.  For example, Kelly Joe Phelps on Southsea Pier. Jackie Leven and David Thomas at the Grey's. Jason Ringenberg sliding along the bar at the RMA. 

young punks at Eric's 1979, Italian tv
 
Back to the 70s though for Iggy.  Two gigs on the same night.  Iggy Pop at Eric's matinee show and then a few hours later at an evening show.  Eric's had this policy of having shows for under 18s in the afternoon.  The Clash would be playing a regular evening gig - but they'd also do one at 5:00 for da kidz.  Here's a gig that makes me glad I was alive that glorious day: 

Saturday 12th August 1978: The Rezillos and the Gang of Four under 18s matinee 5:00 - 7:30 £1.

But back to Iggy.  Iggy Pop.  Yoof of today know him as a weird longhair advertising car insurance.  Yoof of 1969 in Detroit knew him as the king (or clown) of some form of shock rock. Here's a thing:  you tell me about the most obscure, most hip, most out there performer on the planet today and with the aid of google and youtube I'll be watching him/her in a couple of minutes.  What was hot at SXSW? Seen it already.  But in the 1970s it was a different story.  Legends were truly legendary: their exploits passed down by word of mouth.  I knew someone who saw Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight, someone else who saw the Doors at the Roundhouse - in a different age.  Iggy Pop was a legend.  A legend gone bad (all part of the legend), drink, drugs, loose cars and fast women.  And then, courtesy of David Bowie, there was a comeback.  Bowie even played keyboards for Iggy on some gigs.  These were the days of The Idiot and Lust for Life. Iggy at the top of his game.  And in April 1979 Iggy toured the UK  and played these two gigs at Eric's.  It was a week after my 18th birthday.

New Values, Iggy Pop

I went to both sets.  With a different group of friends each time.  Unfortunately for them they went the wrong way round.  For the afternoon gig I was with a younger group of punks who knew the legend and wanted to see him bleed all over the stage.  He didn't.  He had an incredibly tight band (with real live Ex Pistol, Glen Matlock on bass), played an absolute blinder of a set.  The young punks were disappointed.  I loved it. 

Later on that evening I was back with some college mates who liked proper music.  Not to worry, I thought, Iggy has the tightest band.  He'll play a blinder.  However, at some point between the two sets Iggy and band had partaken of something to help them relax.  After all it was his 32nd birthday.  Possibly just alcohol, possibly not.  They were no longer the tight little band.  They were way out there.  Iggy was bleeding all over the stage (this is Eric's stage, 18 inches high, two foot away from where we're standing).  It was manic, it was crazy, it was all over the shop.  It was that (godbless) bomb going off on stage right there in front of us.  My muso friends weren't impressed.  I loved it.

To get to and from the stage at Eric's performers had to walk from the dressing room through the mob before stepping up onto the stage. Can you imagine how that went?  Everyone was there. Everyone that was in a band in Liverpool in 1979, yer Teardrops, Bunnymen, Pink Military, Naughty Lumps, Wylie, Pete Burns, 051. Quite a lot of people suffered from that aloofness that plagued the Liverpool scene at that time. From some (the Zoo circle) there was a collective air of "whatever". Their loss. Iggy was incredible. 

I touched Iggy Pop's jacket. 

Iggy Pop's Jacket, Those Naughty Lumps
 
Iggy Pop on Australian tv 1979

21-04-1979 Liverpool, Eric's (matinee)
1 Intro
2 Kill City
3 Sister Midnight
4 I`m Bored
5 Happy Birthday To Iggy
6 Fortune Teller
7 Loose
8 Five Foot One
9 Little Doll
10 Endless Sea
11 Cock In My Pocket
12 Shake Appeal
13 New Values
14 Girls
15 Dirt
16 Don't Look Down
17 I Wanna Be Your Dog
21-04-1979 Liverpool, Eric's (evening set)
1 Intro
2 60 Seconds To What
3 Kill City
4 Sister Midnight
5 I`m Bored
6 Fortune Teller
7 Loose
8 Five Foot One
9 Little Doll
10 Endless Sea
11 Cock In My Pocket
12 Shake Appeal
13 New Values
14 Girls
15 Dirt
16 Don't Look Down
17 I Wanna Be Your Dog


Iggy Pop: Vocals
Scott Thurston: Keyboard
Glen Matlock: Bass
Jackie Clark: Guitar
Klaus Kruger: Drums



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