Iggy Pop! Live San Fran 1981

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Having just watched Coffee and Cigarettes for the first time and being struck by how much Iggy has come to resemble, in both appearance and speech, Sonny Bono, this opportunity to see young James in his sort-of prime doing sonic cluster-fuck versions of seminal classics like "T.V. Eye" and "1969," comes as a cogent reminder of how this guy got into the pantheon in the first place. A 52-minute performance, with notables Carlos Alomar on guitar and Clem Burke on drums, Iggy's nonchalant animation (really, he looks a little distracted) still seems like some anti-charismatic definition of cool.

Iggy spends most of the concert wearing a mini-skirt and gartered hose and black leather jacket, changing into Bowie drag (black slacks and open-necked white shirt) for the last couple of numbers. These include an effective "Lust for Life," Iggy's minimalist gestures and general stance indicating that maybe he's impersonating Bowie, but whatever, it's one of the less murky songs and a highpoint. But visually this is smudgy-looking and underlit beyond the demands of proto-punk ambience, and the sound is only so-so. All of which adds to its feeling of being a real artifact, a dug-up piece of history.

Richard C. Walls writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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