A: Iggy Pop, who I saw on the Beat ‘Em Up tour in 2001. He opened with “M.A.S.K.” and it was the only time a live performer totally had me from note one with a song I’d never heard before. It helped considerably that Iggy didn’t saunter to the stage like some “dig my life” asshole; rather, he bounded out in a frenzy, hopping to and fro and throwing swift jabs a la Bugs Bunny in “Rabbit Punch,” ready to square off against the Crusher. Pop grabbed the mic and gave two hundred percent as he bitterly ranted and wailed over “M.A.S.K.’s” mechanical smash. You could have cut the Ig’s passion, his societal dissatisfaction, his raw disgust, with only a chainsaw.
It didn’t really matter what he did after that—he played all the hits, of course, all with the same unbelievable energy, but he also played “Death Trip,” which I found miraculous simply because it seemed like a Stooges song Iggy’d surely skip in concert. There was a violent crowd surge when the band launched into “Search & Destroy,” to the point where I was immobilized for a minute or so by a cushion of damp bodies from all sides, and I thought, “Yeah, that’s the correct reaction to this sequence of guitar chords.”
Standing in line before the show I got to chatting with a couple in front of me, and the girl made some remark about how Iggy was the coolest person on the planet and he didn’t even have any tattoos, which ever since has been my mantra every time I think I want to get Krusty the Clown permanently branded on my bicep.