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Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Iggy Pop and the Stooges offer a punk rock celebration for a fallen bandmate

By Roger LeLievre


Iggy and the Stooges perform at the Michigan Theater on Tuesday.

Melanie Maxwell |

From the looks of things, Ann Arbor and the Michigan Theater survived the punk rock bombast of genre pioneers Iggy and The Stooges Tuesday night in fine shape.

The group, fronted by former local Iggy Pop (known here during his high school days by his given name, James Osterberg Jr.) was in town to play a tribute concert for their former bandmate/Ann Arborite guitarist Ron Asheton, who died in 2009.

Around 1,700 were on hand — a full house, according the Michigan Theater's Executive Director Russ Collins, who said three times that many tickets could have been sold, demand was so high. "There's definitely been a feeling of celebration for doing something good for a buddy that has passed on," Collins added. The show was a benefit for local music and animal charities, including the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

The mood at the Michigan was definitely upbeat. The audience appeared to run the gamut of ages, from those obviously too young to know firsthand about the early days of punk to folks who clearly were there and wanted to relive some of the mayhem. There was plenty of black leather, though not so much else in the way of punk fashion. At times it looked a bit like a reunion; there was plenty of hugging and handshaking out in the lobby before the show began. If punk was meant to be angry, this crowd was the absolute opposite.

Past coverage

Other stories about the Stooges homecoming show:

After the opening act, the outstanding, Stooges-inspired rock band Space Age Toasters, from Ann Arbor's Neutral Zone teen center, Ron Asheton's brother and bandmate Scott Asheton offered a few remarks, as did host Henry Rollins, who also has his roots in early punk rock. "Have fun, get naked if you want … God loves The Stooges," Scott Asheton said. Rollins, his comments a mix of prose and poetry, called Ron Asheton "a young visionary" with a "pulverizing, fuzzed-out blues attack. Who knows where he got it, but he knew he was going somewhere with it."

As expected, the shirtless Pop, poring sweat and guzzling from bottles of water, flung himself about the stage like a madman, writhed on the floor, threw open bottles of water out into the audience and dove off the stage (thankfully someone caught him) all with an impish grin that seemed to say, "Hey, I know what's expected of me, and I love it!"

"Fifty felt like 20 tonight," said clearly elated fan Elaine Roman. "This was like the old days."

"The crowd was sincere and loving every minute of it," Roman said, adding that she could feel the love in the room for Ron Asheton. "Without Ron, there wouldn't have been The Stooges and I think Iggy knows that."

Her friend Amy Garber agreed. "Iggy stage-dove, for God's sake," she said. "I thought it was wonderful. … (The show) was beyond expectations."

"I thought (the show) was wonderful," said Rob Utterback, a harpsichordist from Ann Arbor, who admitted to being unsure about what a harpsichordist sees in punk rock. "When I figure that out, I'll tell you," he finally allowed. "(I like) either 16th century music or some band with the word 'puke' in it."


The crowd joins Iggy on stage.

Melanie Maxwell |

Security must have had a collective coronary when Pop invited the crowd to "get on stage and dance with The Stooges." What looked like a couple of hundred people took advantage of the opportunity and rushed up front. It was a mob scene where pure anarchy seemed to reign, and it took a few minutes to clear the stage after that was done.

The show was LOUD. There were some 30 speakers aimed at the crowd, not including the onstage monitors. Raw power indeed.

Cameras were everywhere, thanks to a documentary being filmed on Iggy and The Stooges (director Jim Jarmusch was reportedly in the house), and the concert was broadcast live on XM satellite radio.

Just before the show ended, Pop sat down on the edge of the stage and reminisced about Asheton as he and guitarist James Williamson performed a special acoustic tribute song.

"I have to thank Ron for Iggy," he said. "When I wanted to start a band, Ron was the first guy who would get behind me. … He had a gift, sort of a charm — his compositions were very simple but very memorable."

Pop also expressed his appreciation to the audience, and Stooges' fans in general. "Thanks for showing up ... thanks for giving me a life," he added.

The evening's most surreal moment came when each of the band members was presented with a key to the city of Ann Arbor, an awfully establishment gesture aimed at a group that has prided itself on being anything but establishment. Iggy treated it with the gravity it deserved, grinning cheerfully as he mimed an obscene gesture with his microphone.

An after-party at the Necto nightclub, organized by Pop's management, was attended by around 50 invited guests. One notable no-show: Iggy Pop.

Video of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" from Tuesday's concert, uploaded by YouTube user thorndike:



Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

Anyone who is unhappy with anything they saw just doesn't get Iggy and what he's been doing for 40 plus years, which raises the question "why did you go?" If there was ever a time to wear a shirt it was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction performance last year, and he didn't wear one then, either. Speaking of shirts, i thought the $40 they were charging for t-shirts at the theater were overpriced by at least $15, i guess it went to charity. If they do this again it should be at Hill auditorium or the EMU Convection center.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

now I wonder if there will be a cd or dvd made of the show.From the videos I saw it looked fun but much different then when the band was young.Their music was mean and nasty back then.Sometimes the audience would get mad when Iggy would spit on them.He would dig drumsticks into his chest until he bled.He also would put peanut butter hidden under his pants and( I better stop before I get bumped)but you can imagine.

The Inspector

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

We all had "a real cool time". The event was great. Thanks to the Asheton family for putting on this program We all miss Ron Asheton . I can still picture him standing back with his intense steady guitar just playing away, letting Iggy be the crazy front man. I am happy Ron and Scot t got to enjoy some fame in the later years If you are a Stooges fan you would of loved the show. If you are not a fan you just don't understand what the music and performance is all about. The original innovators...thanks for the music and all of the memories from the good old days Rock on people......


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Setlist for Entire Show: Loose - Space Age Toasters 1969 - Space Age Toasters Little Doll - Space Age Toasters Down on the Street - Space Age Toasters Henry thanks the Space Age Toasters and gives a brief intro about the evening and introduce Scott Asheton (and thank Cathy Asheton) for the assisting in making a special memorial video for Ron. Overture - Orchestra while the video memorial is shown (approximately 5 minutes) Monologue and Touching Speech about Ron and the Stooges from Henry Rollins (15-25m) I Gotta Right - Henry on vocals, backed by Watt, Scott and James (Williamson) Henry leaves stage right - Iggy enters stage left to massive applause Raw Power Search and Destroy Gimme Danger Shake Appeal 1970 LA Blues/Night Theme Beyond the Law Fun House Open Up and Bleed Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell I Wanna Be Your Dog - w/Orchestra ------ Encore TV Eye - w/Deniz & Orch (INTRO) Loose - w/Deniz & Orch Dirt - w/Deniz & Orch (INTRO) Real Cool Time - w/Deniz & Orch Acoustic Performance of a Tribute Song to Ron - Iggy and James ------- Presentation from Mayor's Office of the Key of the City of Ann Arbor to Iggy and the Stooges (not given by the actual mayor, but a Junior High friend of Iggy's and Lee Berry, manager of the Michigan Theater). A point is made to note that the key's end is actually also a bottle opener. ------- Henry comes back to thank everyone, and invites the Space Age Toasters back to the stage. No Fun - everyone I can't personally recall when, but late in the show Iggy gave a very touching speech about Ron and his love of Ann Arbor (it may have been right before he did the duet with James). Also, I don't recall during which song the crowd first rushed the stage (invited by Iggy), but it is worth noting because Steve Mackay's saxaphone improvisation for several minutes belongs on the set list because his performance was outstanding.

pat rapp

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Thanks for posting the set list, Gabe. It was a great show, wasn't it?!! The touching speech about Ron came right before "Ron's Tune" - the acoustic requiem Iggy and James played in tribute to Ron. The crowd rushed the stage the first time for Shake Appeal. (I got to be in that crowd and it was a great little party up there on stage!) The second time was for No Fun. I couldn't get up on stage for that one. The bouncers were getting a little cranky by then.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

What a fantastic show, a show for the ages. That ladies and gentlemen is Rock and Roll. Accept no substitutes.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

It was an amazing show from an amazing band. The only thing that could have made it any better would be Ron Asheton himself standing on that stage, happy and healthy and kicking out thunderous guitar lines. Obviously we couldn't have that, but Iggy and the boys did their best to honor Ron's legacy. A fantastic night. Kudos also to Space Age Toasters and Henry Rollins. Rollins' ode to Ron Asheton and The Stooges was heartfelt and passionate and quite fitting -- and he did a great job on his one song with the band.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

Giving Iggy Stooge the key to the city. Wow! Next the Stooges get a downtown historical marker. I am not implying that the city should not have done this or that the Stooges don't deserve it, but these honors are so un-Stooge like! Did Iggy, at least, throw up on the key? Glad Iggy and the Stooges are still rockin after 45 years. I know Ron is looking down from the Elvis wing of the big motel in the sky (thanks Thayrone) and chuckling to himself.

Tom Traynor

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

Then when ripping into the post honors song--Iggy deadpans and says to the presenter dude: "Hey--thanks for the VOTE!". Had to have heard the story set-up..... Iggy is a funny little dude.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

he smirked a lot and used the key as a phallus. perfect iggy.

Visual Echo

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

On the second song of the encore, Deniz was on guitar and Iggy was bouncing around the stage... Iggy fell into him lightly and rebounded, but was walking on the guitar cord. Deniz was hammering on the guitar pretty fast and didn't notice why the cord was hung up, it was under Iggy's foot. He gave it a good pull, and Iggy face-planted into the stage, the microphone hit pretty hard too. He got up, maybe a little slower than usual, and even though it was Iggy, the look on him said that it had to hurt. It occurred to me that this was a very normal thing to see at an Iggy Pop show. Space Age Toasters were awesome, keep beating up on those strings and skins. The show knocked a visible amount of dust from the ceiling, floating down over the band during the first few songs. They rocked the house, and the proof was visible. Somebody check the screws in the lamp above the sound board, it was moving around quite a bit. Wait, was this a punk rock show? I went to a benefit concert for the Huron Valley Humane Society at the historic Michigan Theatre where Mr. James Osterberg Jr. received the key to the City of Ann Arbor from a special representative from the Mayor's office. Yeah, that's my story Boss, I ain't afraid of NUTHIN.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Thank you Stooges and Asheton family for putting together a fun show. Deniz Tek was amazing, too bad he did not play on all the pre-Raw Power numbers as he was definately channelling Ron Asheton.

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

I was going to comment that I was thrilled not to have to listen to the silly comments like the one above about "no shirt" and here it is the second comment. He never wears a shirt! It's who he is!! He's a PUNK!!! Get over it. It's not about you! It was a great show and the audience loved it! To the others who said things like "they weren't good back then and they still aren't good today" that is simply ridiculous. The homage by Henry Rollins and the succeeding show proved how wrong you are! It was a homecoming deeply appreciated by our Mayor (key to the city) and those of us fortunate enough to be in attendance! Like Russ Collins said, the demand for tickets was extremely high. They could have held the show at Crisler Arena and it would have sold out. The "most likely to succeed" had a successful homecoming and paid fitting tribute to his former bandmate!

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

Andy, maybe your assumption that the alternative to a shirtless Iggy must somehow be Jim Nabors was a bit insulting. Me I prefer Lady Gaga to either one. And that's NOT a joke.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

@ happy comment removing staff: what's wrong with stating that being shirtless is Jim's "thing" and a part of his performance persona just like makeup is for KISS, Marilyn Manson & Alice Cooper as well as offering up some wholesome sweater wearing Jim Nabors as an alternative? I'm going to rebel and get myself a Beatles haircut.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Craig, you don't get it and that's fine, but maybe you could move on to another article so that those of us who DO get it don't need to waste time explaining it to you.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 1 p.m.

"He never wears a shirt! It's who he is!! He's a PUNK!!!" I thought he was a bad.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Craig, it's a parade, man! Take your cloud elsewhere.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

Put a shirt on Ziggy your not a kid anymore. while perhaps "Fifty felt like 20 tonight," I can say 63 doesn't look like 23 or 33 or even 43.

pat rapp

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

Iggy never wears a shirt. It's almost like a trade mark. Why does this bother you? Sure, his skin is not like a 20 year old's, but his abs are amazing and so are his arms. He's in better shape than most people and I think he looks great with his shirt off. :)

Tom Traynor

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

"Ziggy". And the Ga-ga comment below say it all. You could have sold those free tickets you got somehow to plenty of fans outside, you know.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Craig I also notice that you brag of your 37 deletions on this venue of opinions? That kind of says something about your opinions, right? A malcontent's views are welcome in some cases however it is a much finer day to be content and happy for something like this tribute to a fine Ann Arbor native.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Happy 64 Tomorrow Jim!