Iggy Pop shouldn't be like this. Sprinting across the stage, leaping into crowds, and playing the best rock and roll of his life—there's so much about him today that doesn't make sense. Pop is 68-years-old. He's released 23 albums. He and The Stooges have been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for half a decade, and if anyone has earned the right to kick back and relax on a boat bought with royalty checks, it's him.
But that's not happening. With the help of a fierce new band, Iggy Pop took Manhattan's United Palace Theater by storm Tuesday night, mixing classics like "Lust for Life" and "The Passenger" with songs from his fantastic new album Post Pop Depression. Produced and co-written by Queens of the Stoneage frontman Josh Homme, the record is smart and cocky, full of blistering riffs, weird pianos, and moody hooks. Pop, Homme, and the band performed almost all of it this week, splitting the air with harmonized guitar lines and flailing limbs. At one point, Pop dove into a pack of adoring fans only to yell "Back off, motherfuckers!" The taunt was met with cheers. This show could have been a victory lap, but it came closer to a riot.
After The Stooges drummer Scott Asheton died in 2014, Iggy took an indefinite hiatus from the road. "I’ll probably tour again at some point, but I don’t know when and I don’t know how," he told Spin. But now Pop's career has found new vitality thanks to Post Pop Depression, and his live presence is as strong as ever. Tuesday night's show featured plenty of familiar 70's solo cuts including "Nightclubbing" and "Funtime," but there was no denying the new material. The three-guitar climax of rock strutter "Sunday" will be ringing in fans' eardrums for days.
It's a cliche at this point—the ripped physique and wild man moves—but the fact is that seeing Iggy Pop live is a phenomenal thing. This is what rock and roll should be.