Pop's lust for life still draws gasps

First Night: Iggy Pop, Astoria 2, London
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The Independent Culture

FIFTY-TWO AND still in possession of a six-pack that's seen a lot more action than Peter Andre's, James Jewel Osterburg has hisfoot back on the accelerator. Even before Trainspotting's use of "Lust For Life" brought him back into the spotlight, you wouldn't havebet against him, though. Mr Pop is a legend, and legend has its own momentum.

FIFTY-TWO AND still in possession of a six-pack that's seen a lot more action than Peter Andre's, James Jewel Osterburg has hisfoot back on the accelerator. Even before Trainspotting's use of "Lust For Life" brought him back into the spotlight, you wouldn't havebet against him, though. Mr Pop is a legend, and legend has its own momentum.

While Iggy & The Stooges' incendiary 70s album Raw Power was re-released just a few months ago, Osterburg's new record AvenueB is a more sedate affair. His recent divorce and relocation to Miami from Manhattan scarcely figure in the lyrics, but he's clearly tornbetween existential angst and "post-marital f***ing." The album also reflects Iggy's increasing awareness of his own seniority andmisogynistic potential. Now more likely to repair to his study than roll on broken glass, he seems to be morphing into rock's ErnestHemingway.

Last night's performance was Iggy's first "proper" gig in London for four years. Before he came on we could see him limbering up likea prize- fighter side of stage. Baby blue-eyed and trim as a zombie, you couldn't help but love him.

Toying with the pipe-and-slippers image that much of Avenue B evokes, he knelt in front of the stage with an acoustic guitar as theaudience threw roses. He then began with a brooding, spoken-word performance of "No Shit" and segued into the wistful croon of"Nazi Girlfriend." Gentle as the latter was, its "I want to f**k her on the floor/among my books of ancient lore" couplet raised severalleery cheers.

Both these songs were stylistic red herrings, and claims that Iggy's live performances are becoming less apocalyptic were soondisproved. As the tempo increased and the volume soared, he quickly assumed his cartoonish alter ego for a batch of crunchy rock androll songs which included "Raw Power", "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Corruption."

One early highlight was Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over", contemporised by a groovesome back-beat which acknowledged danceculture. Cynics might argue that Osterburg's appropriation of Kidd is a calculated attempt to repeat the Top Ten success of "Real WildChild." His affection and aptitude for 50s rock 'n' roll is blindingly obvious, however, and I would argue that this is all the justificationhe needs to repackage it.

As the set reached its climax and the drum riff of "Lust For Life" kicked- in, Iggy ran the length of the stage and swan-dived into thecrowd. This guy has always put out, and even as his twilight years approach, he isn't putting out any less. Most of Britain's flabbyrock-establishment would get tired just watching him.

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