It was 2007 and I was out in the parking lot unloading groceries from my car. My neighbor comes running over, we never had talked about music before but he had noticed me wearing cool rock and roll t-shirts all the time (today it was The Clash), and said the most beautiful words to me, “Would you like to go see the Stooges with me, I have an extra ticket for tomorrow night.” This was the start of a wonderful friendship. I, of course, offered to drive and pay for a couple rounds, I am a good friend to have.
The next night we were off to the Congress Theater in Chicago. The show was sold out. I didn’t pay for the tickets but they were about $39. I remember the excitement of standing outside the venue. It was completely electric. Everyone knew this was a special event. I wore my Ramones white on black t-shirt. The crowd could just not believe what was about to happen. There were several men, by themselves, my age or a little older. Men who probably had someone to go with to this show had it happened 20 years ago but some music listeners move on. More than 1 of those men, flying solo, came up to me with their pupils the size of silver dollars and said, “I can’t believe we are going to see the Stooges!” I felt the same way. For long time music fans this seemed like something that would never happen. We all made it in and the Stooges ripped it up. Iggy did not stop jumpin’ and humpin’ the whole set. The Ashton brothers were on fire and Mike Watt really is living the dream on stage nightly. When the opening chords from “I wanna be your dog,” rang out there was nothing that could top that level of intensity. Intensity is the greatest gift of a truly gifted band in my humble opinion. All the greats have it. The Stooges were everything we wanted them to be so many years later. I returned the gesture to my neighbor when the Stooges were going to be part of Lollapalloza 2007. Again we were there having our minds blown with a whole new group of people. This was a little weirder as it was in the middle of the afternoon out in the very sunny 100 degree heat. Same set list. Same euphoric feeling with the opening chords of “I wanna be your dog.” Same stage invasion during “No Fun.”
That was 2007, this is 2010. We lost an Ashton along the way. This was a huge loss and it seemed that no more kids just being turned on to them, or old guys in Ramones t-shirts, would get another chance to see the Stooges. Iggy Pop saw it differently and has become quite the smart business man of late. He picked up on the popularity of the Stooges and after not being able to parade the Mach-I version out anymore has turned to the Mach-II version. The Stooges with James Williamson on guitar are returning to Chicago tomorrow night. Now, why I bring business in this at all is because tickets to tomorrow nights show cost $58.30 a piece at Ticketmaster. I agree it will be hard to find a better showman than Iggy. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have killer songs which bands try to emulate but never pierce the skin quite the same way. They were around before punk and are still doing it today with Iggy being 63 years old. All these reasons are strongly in favor of you going out for the night to see Iggy & The Stooges. But why so expensive? This would only be a “not miss” show if you were given tickets. I hear a lot of music journalist referring to this show as “can’t miss.” They are definitely on the guest list. In a concert business year that has seen a lot of failure (this show was also moved from the 5000 capacity Aragon Ballroom to the 2500 capacity Riviera Theater) continues to take advantage of the fan. In fact, I know that fans are not going to see this show because of the ticket price. If the tickets were $25 the would sell twice as many. I see this happen time and time again. I know the venue and the promoter have something to do with the price and this doesn’t solely fall on the shoulders of the band. I would love to see if this new version will be as intoxicating as the one I saw in 2007. I would love to see the song “Search and Destroy” which was not played in 2007 and is now being played with Williamson. I guess what I am trying to say is that I can’t afford $58.30 and I will be out unloading groceries from my car to see if my friend pulls up with an extra ticket all the way up until show time.