The Royal Center concert hall in Bogota was filling up on the balcony where I was standing but there seemed to be many gaps down below in the “platino” area where the tickets for Iggy Pop were double the price I had paid. It’s something I can never quite get my head around here in Colombia, the justification of charging double for the same venue especially when it’s a pretty small one like Royal Center. Besides, from my position high up on the balcony, I’d have a pretty good view of the legend himself wiggling his snake hips to his classic hits. And honestly I was just happy enough to be able to be there to hear his voice. I was surprised that the line wasn’t trailing around the block waiting to get in for a peek at this icon of punk rock, but someone told me there was a Colombian football match on and well…we know how important that is to people here.
Somewhere around 9pm the moment arrived and Iggy burst out on stage and the crowd went wild. Without any delay the raging chords to The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” kicked in and a wave of energy swept over the crowd. Iggy is a performer who doesn’t care about saving all his best for the predictable encore at the end but delivers them right from the start as “The Passenger” and “Lust For Life” came right up next. The crowd was instantly hyped up singing in unison across the venue. Now I could see more people rushing in at the back probably kicking themselves for not getting in sooner.
As the show went on Iggy seemed to be supercharged with energy and the high altitude in Bogota looked like it had no effect on him whatsoever and was certainly not going to stop the 69 year old from kicking ass as he jumped into the crowd several times. He charged around the stage moving his body to the rhythm of the music and got up close and personal with his fans, his voice never wavering. I’m sure those who witnessed his performance all left there believing this man was superhuman and thought when they get to his age they can only hope to be as lively as he is.
The set list was heavy on The Stooges and the early works of Iggy which was both a surprise and a delight as I imagined that he would play a lot of new stuff from “Post Pop Depression” his seventeenth studio album which was recorded in secret and came out earlier this year. The album is chock full of killer tracks featuring Josh Homme on guitar and Matt Helders from the Artic Monkeys on drums. However, during the show he only played the track “Gardenia”. If I’m honest I’d have loved to have heard “In the Lobby” and “American Valhalla” but when you have so much incredible material as Iggy does there is really no complaining.
All through the performance Iggy smiled and waved to everyone in the room looking like he was truly having the time of his life. At one point in the show Iggy spoke fondly to the crowd saying how wonderful it was to finally play in Colombia. There had been a sort of urban legend that Iggy had once lived in the La Candaleria area of central Bogota, back in the 90’s when he had a Colombian girlfriend. Even though it is not fully known if this is true or not, Iggy himself said in his address to the crowd “I’ve always loved the Colombian people, you’re so friendly and it’s great to be back here and that I finally get to play for you.”
Iggy Pop’s band were a group of solid musicians who delivered an incredible performance with the legend himself. The combination of Iggy’s energetic personality and their great musical talent gave the public a memorable show. With the loss of some of the world’s most incredible music legends over this past year and having never had the chance to see Bowie and Lemmy perform live I feel privileged to have witnessed Iggy Pop live in action and is most definitely one more thing crossed off my bucket list.