Iggy Pop is both a force and a freak of nature. A force, who with his band The Stooges' eponymous 1969 release, single-handedly invented punk rock. He's a freak based simply on his physical presence and what it has meant to the pursuit of his art.
Coming out of Detroit in 1969, Pop out-Morrisoned Morrison and out-Jaggered Jagger. Thursday night at Kansas City, Mo.'s Uptown Theatre he demonstrated that he still can.
Still leaping, writhing and tossing aside his mane of dirty-blonde hair at 54 as he did at 22, Pop now looks like he's been dragged down 1,000 miles of bad road. With an anonymous trio of hard rockers, he tore through a 90-minute set of new songs from his recent release "Beat Em Up" and well-worn classics, focusing all his attention on his audience.
Opening with songs from the new release, Pop got to the meat of his set, the Stooges' and solo material that demonstrated his status as a punk icon through the '70s, and into the '80s. "Search and Destroy," from the Stooges' "Raw Power" album, was a potent reminder of how long Pop has been making this sort of raging rock 'n' roll.
It was the older songs that were the highlights of the concert, though the replicating filler did manage to maintain the energy level between great performances of "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "The Passenger," "I Got A Right," "Cold Metal," "T.V. Eye" and the encore "No Fun."
Though Pop no longer hurls his body to the stage or cuts himself with broken beer bottles, he has not wimped out as a hard-core rocker. Anyone would be thrilled to exhibit not only the mobility but also the commitment at his age.