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Concert Review by Serge

IGGY POP AND THE STOOGES Colmar, France, 13 August 2005
MARILYN MANSON Colmar, France, 14 August 2005
by Serge (for once)

Breaking news: the great American counter culture has just sent us two of its most cherished sons. One is said to have godfathered punk rock, garage rock and heavy metal (ah? I had thought it was the MC5) and to have been David Bowie / Mick Jagger / Lou Reed / Brian Eno / Mott The Hoople / the Osmonds’ lover (your call), whereas some say the other one has copied Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne, usually throws a couple puppies / golden retrievers / kittens / ducks / geese / Broras (your call again) into the crowd and tells the audience he won’t play until they are dead (I hope it will be the Broras tonight). It’s also rumoured that last time, he threw a puppy into the crowd and that several people were injured fighting to get body parts as souvenirs. What’s sure, is that both have used more or less the same USP’s quite successfully: getting half-naked on stage (okay, naked), androgyny, provocation, exhibitionism, skulls and bones, playing loud and rough and all that jazz. Enough reasons for me not to even think of attending the shows, even if they were to take place at the Wine Fair of Colmar. Yet, I bought some tickets.
Well, I should rather say “my children made me buy some tickets”, as I didn’t want to let them go there alone in the first place. Now, I already saw Iggy on stage in the seventies, and I must say the fact that he’s said not to have changed one iota is a balm to a middle aged man like me. As for Manson, well, I was really curious about him and just between us, the fact that most of my friends and relatives couldn’t believe I’d go there just made me decide to go there. Yes, I’m the antichrist of the district ;-).
Good, but I still had a problem: how to dress. Nick, who’s very experienced, told me I should wear a hood, at least for Manson. Yep, good for anonymity! I have also considered a maltmaniacs.com T-shirt, the ‘maniacs’ part being quite rock and roll, I think. And I also had my old, dusty Mexican boots and perfecto jacket in my basement, waiting for a new life … But my daughter said I’d be the laughing stock of the place and she was probably right. So, all things considered, I decided to adopt an 'oops-I-had-though-it-was-a-jazz-concert' outfit that, I had hoped, would have also made most people think I was a journalist or a sociologist...
It didn’t work too well, I’m afraid. Some ‘foreigners’ were looking at me like if I was the mayor of Colmar and that didn’t please me too much, as the actual mayor is a total jerk. Anyway, time to tell you what happened during these two nights now.
- The protagonists -
Mr Pop, aka James Osterberg. Born 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan, USA. One of David Bowie’s friends.
Mr Manson, aka Brian Warner. Born 1969 in Canton, Ohio, USA. One of David Bowie’s friends.
Okay, I know what you think: Bowie's dentist is good. But that's not the point tonight, let's rather focus on the shows, minute by minute. And first, the audiences (just like Nick, my Master-in-Reviewing does):
Mr Pop’s audience: ranges from 15 to 60 years old guys and girls. No fanatics, although I spot a few ‘The Stooges’ T-shirts. A few Lacoste polo shirts and ponytails. Could be the audience of a jazz concert (good for me). The guy in front of me is Frank Zappa’s double.   Mr Manson’s audience: mostly teenagers. Very young girls made up like stolen cars (probably future hairdressers or cashiers at the supermarket). Bunches of ‘gothics’. The guy in front of me wears an ‘everything louder than everything else’ T-shirt.
- The shows -
Ron Asheton
Tim Skold, bass
Guess who plays harder?

Time - Mr Pop arrives on stage at 21:30 sharp, exactly as planned, gesticulating, and intones ‘Loose’. The 8,000 people in the hall stand up immediately. Mr Pop is wearing just a blue jean. His voice (probably his main asset) is in perfect shape. Ron Asheton, from the original Stooges, is on Guitar. Born 1948, joined the Stooges in 1967. Looks like any grandpa you could meet at the garden center on a Saturday morning. Wears kind of a fishing jacket. Brother Scott ‘Rockation’ Asheton is on drums. Wears a baseball cap and Ray-Bans. Mike Watt, born 1957, is on bass. Was too young to be a member of the original Stooges, obviously. Wears a ‘mind the gap’ T-shirt, which might prove he transited through Heathrow before landing at Colmar Airport (which the dumb mayor of Colmar wants to close down, officially because of terrorist threats, unofficially because he wants to convert the place into a commercial zone). The sound is very bold, very rough, very loud. After just two minutes, Mr Pop jumps into the crowd for the first time. His security crew will need a good two minutes to get him back on stage.

Time + 5 min – They play ‘1969’. Mr Pop climbs up the huge Marshall amplifiers and simulates sex (or was it front crawl?) The crowd cheers. Mr Pop shouts: “I want you, Colmar!” Does he want to become the new mayor? Come, come, Iggy!

Time + 9 min – It’s ‘I wanna be your dog’. Blasted, I’d have preferred ‘I wanna be your mayor”. Anyway, the sound is huge. Mr Pop jumps into the crowd again. You can guess what the security thinks: “Tsss-tsss”. He’s back on the stage after a good two minutes again, and starts to simulate sex again, right on the floor. Old techniques but probably quite efficient.

Time + 13 min – The band plays ‘TV eye’ with its famous guitar riff. Mr Pop sings “She got a TV eye on me, she got a TV eye, she got a TV eye on me, oh see that cat down on her back, see that cat down on her back, she got a TV eye on me, she got a TV eye, she got a TV eye on me, oh see that cat, yeah I love her so, see that cat yeah I love her so, she got a TV eye on me, she got a TV eye, she got a TV eye on me, oh right on, right on, right on, see that cat, yeah I love her, so see that cat, yeah I love her, so she got a TV eye on me, she got a TV eye, she got a TV eye on me…” He’s kneeling on the floor.

Time + 16 min – Mr Pop wants the light on, because he wants to see everybody. Yeah, I’m sure he can see me now, even if I’m far from the stage. Hello, Iggy, I’m here! And to prove he saw me, he starts to do my favourite Stooges song, ‘Dirt’ and then falls on the floor. Very Morrisonian but ouch! Is he injured? Ah, no, he’s okay. What a relief! Mr Pop says “I love you!” I love you too, Iggy!

Time + 25 min – Mr Pop sings ‘Not right’ and says he wants some people on stage. So two or three dozens people climb on stage and start to dance / gesticulate / wave at their friends. The security goes crazy. A girl gives Iggy a French kiss, whilst her boyfriend watches the scene. He doesn’t look very happy and shouts something to her. She kisses Iggy again. Some other people start to cuddle him. He asks for more people on stage, so more people go up there.

Time + 31 min – Mr Pop does ‘No fun’ and gives the mike to anybody who wants to shout a few words. He makes short duets with some guys. The crowd cheers more and more. All people on stage start to kiss and paw the iguana. The latter asks for more people. There are now 50 people, more or less and it’s like in ‘Hair’ (remember?) Mr Pop seems to think it’s fun! He shouts “We love you, motherfucking Colmar!

Time + 37 min – They do ‘1970’. “Feed my love all night till I blow away, all night till I blow away, I feel alright, I feel alright baby oh baby, burn my heart, baby oh baby, burn my heart, fall apart baby, fall apart baby oh baby, burn my heart all night till I blow away, all night till I blow away, I feel alright, I feel alright.” It’s only now that Steve McKay comes on the stage. He plays the tenor sax. Was already with the Stooges on their second alum, ‘Funhouse’ (1970). He starts to blow his sax like a madman, and the band now sounds like the Sun Ra Arkestra: it’s a sonic maelstrom, a jubilatory chaos. Free rock and roll, anybody? Mr Pop goes up and down the octaves, sounding almost like a girl from time to time. And then he eructs; he belches, he moans, he roars… It’s not a concert anymore; it’s kind of a giant happening.

Time + 42 min – They do a song I never heard before. It’s funkier than all the old Stooges songs – well, less funky that James Brown, that is. Mr Pop dances in his typical anti-rhythmic way. The crowd screams. He shouts “Fucking thank ya! And now we’re gonna die!

Time + 47 min – They start a new song again. Mr Pop tells us it’s in “the dead rat style”. It’s a nice song, Iggy vocalizes the melody – his voice is intact. He says “I’m coming up”, jumps into the crowd again and starts walking toward the end of the hall. It’s Ali in Kinshasa. It seems that the security crew is fed up!

Time + 53 min – Mr Pop is back on stage again and they do ‘Funhouse’. His fly is now open but he isn’t showing his medals. Some girls seem to be disappointed, but they can still see that Mr Pop doesn’t wear any underpants (never mess with a legend!)

Time + 58 min – They do ‘Little doll’. “Little doll I can't forget, smoking on a cigarette. In my life a real queen, prettiest thing I ever seen. Uh-huh.” Mr Pop is a bloody good showman but he won’t get the Nobel Prize for literature, that’s for sure. The show is now a global delirium.

Time + 63 min – They do ‘I wanna be your dog’ again, but a shorter version. Probably the last song. The crowd is hysterical but the lights are switched off. Yes it’s over. The crowd asks for an encore.

Time + 71 min – The spotlights are on again, they are back and they do a short song I don’t know (something about f*cking, apparently). The music stops, it’s the end. The band leaves the stage but Mr Pop’s still there, waving at the audience. And then he jumps for the last time into the crowd. He’s back after one minute or two, makes a few clownish moves, puts on airs and leaves the stage.

Time + 76 min - The audience is stunned and extatic and we all need a good five minutes to recover before we leave the hall.


Time - 21:30 - The lights are switched off. The band is a bit late (they should have started at 21:00). The crowd - 10,000 people - shouts ‘Manson! Manson! Manson! Manson!’ Many do a special hand sign, raising the first finger and the pinkie. Yawn; is ‘somebody’ a cuckold? There’s a huge black curtain masking the stage and a strange music with violins and cellos starts to pulsate. Quite nice, I must say. The music gets then discordant, almost Kurtweill-esque. The curtain goes up, there’s a lot of smoke (yep, almost like in a kiln) and here he is. Mr Manson is coming to the front of the stage, carrying a lantern. He screams something I didn’t get – something about ghosts (I’ve been told the song is ‘Family trip’). His voice is very Bowie-esque, and seems to be in very good shape. He’s wearing a black redingote, translucent black tulle pants and black jack-boots: he’s looking like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element. The bassist and the guitarist look like crossbreeds of Duran Duran and the Winters (Johnny and Edgar). The drummer hides behind his cymbals, while the organ player (he plays kind of a $19.99 Bontempi, hanged on a gibbet – the organ, not the guy) looks like Sting in ‘Dune’.

Time + 7 min – They do another song: ‘The love song’, according to my neighbour. Lots of ‘F*ck you’ in there. Well…

Time + 11 min – Mr Manson shows his legs, like a B-movie actress. He starts to sing the Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ a capella. Nice voice, I must say. Very Bowie-esque again. Then he says he wants to f*ck us again and does ‘Irresponsible hate anthem’ (I’ve been told): “I am so all-American, I'll sell you suicide. I am totalitarian, I've got abortions in my eyes. I hate the hater, I'd rape the raper. I am the animal who will not be himself, fuck it…” Ah, litterature!

Time + 15 min – They do ‘Disposable teens’ (I’ve been told).

Time + 18 min – Mr Manson now wears a SS officer cap and tells us we’re “god dam motherfucking motherfuckers”. Ah… They do ‘mOBSCENE’ (I got it because it was written in giant letters on a screen). I must say this one isn’t too bad, it’s kind of a classic rock anthem. The crowd starts to feel there’s not much passion on stage, though… (and no animals whatsoever!) Mr Manson takes his redingote off, and he’s now wearing just a black leather undervest. No, no, not a corset.

Time + 21 min – Mr Manson is now on stilts, with long crutches in his hands. He looks like a four-legged spider and does ‘Tourniquet’ (I’ve been told). Again, he sounds quite Bowie-esque but all that lacks quite some oomph ;-). The guitarist and bassist behave like if they were the Spinal Tap. They are quite ridiculous, I’m afraid, and frankly, they don’t play too good. They really lack power and the audience seems to feel it…

Time + 25 min – They do 'Personal Jesus'. Better than Depeche Mode but much, much worse than Johnny Cash. Mr Manson tries to move like Rita Hayworth in Gilda and I start to feel sorry for him. There are some hisses at the end of the song.

Time + 28 min – Mr Manson sends some kisses to the crowd and starts to sing an awful song, which sounds like some two-cents downtempoed punk rock. I didn’t bother to try to get the name of the song, sorry. More hisses from the audience.

Time + 32 min – Another boring song. Mr Manson wears a new fluttering black jacket but he’s soon to take it off. Mix of polite applause and hisses. No animals on stage.

Time + 35 min – They do a lifeless ‘Tainted love’ (Soft Cells’ hit). Hisses.

Time + 38 min – ‘The fight song’. Crappy drumming, flabby guitars.

Time + 42 min – Mr Manson wears kind of a cocked hat, he looks like a Spanish policeman or like Napoleon. They do a song. The crowd seems to like this one better, good for the band (but do they really care?)

Time + 45 min – Another song (‘The dope show’). Mr Manson wears a new striped jacket but takes it off after 30 seconds.

Time + 48 min – Ah, this is better (honest). Something of Jean Genie. It’s called ‘The golden age of grotesque’. “We sing la la, la la, la la lah. We sing la la, la la, lah. La la, la la, la la, lah. We sing la la, la la, la la lah”. Don’t get me wrong, Marilyn Manson’s lyrics are smarter than Iggy Pop’s. I mean, sort of ‘deeper’, whatever that means.

Time + 52 min – The bass player now uses a white double bass. Mr Manson wears an Al Capone hat. (after Rita Hayworth, now it’s Marlene Dietrich) and is carrying a soprano sax. Hey-hey, that’s interesting! But he doesn’t blow it until the end of the new song: two meagre notes (he sounds like a seagull). Polite applause, a few hisses.

Time + 56 min - It’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ time. The crowd warms up a bit again, and sings with Mr Manson. “Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? Travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something…” He asks us to clap our hands, just like any average rock and roll singer. Some accede to his request and it’s really getting a little warmer, but still no chicken / rat / cow / chick / Brora on stage. Bah…

Time + 60 min – It’s the last song – I guess it’s called ‘Beautiful people’. On the giant screen, portraits of a few world leaders follow one another (I could spot Ghandi, Nixon, Stalin, the Che, Hitler, Mao, GW Bush and maybe Charles Manson – not that the latter was a world leader, thank god). Mr Manson wears his SS cap again but he’s soon to throw it away. It’s a short song (all songs were short, that is) and as soon as it’s over, the band leaves the stage. It seams that the gig has come to and end. Some people ask for an encore – politely, I’d say.

Time + 72 min - They come back for the encore. Just one song, sung from kind of a dais with a strange sign on it (half swastika, half road sign). Mr Manson eructs, gesticulates like a disarticulated jumping jack, sends some kisses to the audience… The spotlights are switched off. It’s over for good.

Time + 75 min - Quick, quick, let's get out of here and avoid the gothics!


Incredible picture of Iggy Pop and Marilyn Manson meeting after a show - not the Colmar ones. Doesn't it say it all? (found on I-94 bar)


- In short... -
Although both shows featured two superstars and some heavy rock and roll, they just couldn't have been more different. Iggy and his band played almost only old Stooges songs from the 1969-1973 era, while Marilyn Manson did sort of a best-of (I've been told). Iggy didn't do any of his more recent hits (The passenger, Lust for Life, Bored, Nightclubbing, Louie Louie, China Girl and tutti quanti). Both shows were certainly highly prepared and carefully apportioned but the Stooges managed to communicate with their audience (to say the least) while Manson was just doing his show: not a single word, not even a 'thank you (for your business)'. Iggy flabbergasted even the youngsters who had never heard about the Stooges before, while Manson sounded tired and bored, imitating himself. Granted, nobody really wanted him to sacrifice any dog / goldfish / elephant / mouse / Brora (except for the latter) and I've been there just out of curiosity anyway. But still!...
And sure I had even no expectations whatsoever but I still managed to get sort of disappointed - which beats all! (and yes, I know I'm boldly 'out of the target', and I don't like this kind of music at all.) Yet, I found Brian Warner sort of moving. I'm not far from thinking he doesn't like what he's doing anymore, and I'd bet he'll do something else in the coming years. Another kind of music - again, he's got a great voice and he's not bad at writing lyrics, and probably not only outrageous ones - or any other kind of art, like for instance painting (see the picture, titled 'When I get old' - he's good, isn't he?). As for Iggy Pop, he rules and he's in top shape. I can't see why or when he'd stop doing what he does: just some good, generous and soulful (and loud) rock and roll. Iggy, anytime again!
Only for a short time: Dirt.mp3 (The Stooges, 1970) and mOBSCENE.mp3 (Marilyn Manson, 2003)
PS: a message from my daughter Diane: "Dad talks about politics too much. Besides, when Marilyn Manson mimicked a jumping jack at the end, it was on purpose. And daddy didn't tell you about the nice cotillions and paper streamers, nor about the great light show. Tainted Love wasn't bad, and the crowd hasn't been that indifferent to the show." Good, now you have two POV's.

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