March 17, 2010

Harold Ford Jr and wife look on as Iggy Pop performs up close and personal at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria, March 15 2010

The incongruity of Iggy Pop and the Stooges performing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" to a black tie crowd at the Waldorf is just too funny (to me anyway) not to pass along. The crowd sat stone faced throughout, perhaps stunned and/or appalled at what they were witnessing. Doubtless Harold chief among them. From

Then they started playing. And that performance — or, rather, the reaction to it — brought home just how remarkable an achievement this was. Iggy ripped off his shirt and the band roared to life. And the audience ... pretty much just sat there.

The band started with "Search and Destroy," and despite the black-tie surroundings and the palpable lack of response from the crowd, they managed to sound like themselves. I think there was some polite applause. Then they launched into "I Wanna Be Your Dog." And while the band sounded great, it was hard not to wince when Iggy sang "Now I wanna ...," turned the microphone to the crowd, and was met with stone faces and silence rather than the shouted response "Be your dog!"

Maybe there were some in the audience who got into it, but it was hard to see any on TV. I can’t remember the last time I saw a more uncomfortable looking group of people. You could almost read the thought balloons: "I can’t wait for this to be over." "Please make them stop." "Bring out the Hollies."

Iggy did his best to engage the crowd. "Come on, rich people!" he yelled (as if he’s not one). "Show us you’re not too rich to be cool!" A couple of the rich people did get up on stage and looked absolutely ridiculous, but I guess they deserve some credit. The song crashed to a close and the TV cut to an insurance commercial. And then it was on to the other inductees.

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