The Showgoer: F The Retirement Home, Iggy, Willie & Fogerty Still Rocking Hard

Iggy Pop & The Losers Perform At The Hollywood Palladium
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 27: Iggy Pop & The Losers Perform At The Hollywood Palladium on April 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)

Over the course of 10 recent spring days in Los Angeles, The Showgoer took in three live performances in quick succession and inadvertently had his face melted by three senior citizens. In fact all three, who are well over the age of 65, are also masters of live performance, having honed their craft over decades.

It was an honor and privilege seeing sublime performances by two septuagenarians and a nonagenarian, all stone-cold Hall of Fame legends with an average age of 81 years between them. Their performances weren’t some kind of half-hearted golden oldies nostalgia trip; rather, Iggy Pop, age 76; Willie Nelson, 90(!); and John Fogerty, 77; are vital performing artists who still f’ing rawk! Hard!

Iggy, the glorious Godfather of Punk, tore up the Palladium on April 27. He’s still a live wire, shirtless, fiery, animalistic and howling into the void while urgently stalking the stage martyring himself to adulating mosh pits. Good luck not getting swept up in the sheer gale force of Stooges classics at the foundation of so much undeniably kick-ass music, including: “Raw Power,” “T.V. Eye,” “Gimme Danger,” “Search and Destroy” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson Credit Joshua Timmermans

Performing more nuanced songs from his back catalog, Iggy broke out his strong baritone croon on classics like “The Passenger,” “Lust For Life,” “Sixteen” and Nightclubbing.” His phenomenal backup band, with producer/guitar hero extraordinaire Andrew Watt, bassist Duff McKagan from GnR and Chad Smith from the Chili Peppers pack as much lethal power as anything Iggy and the Asheton brothers did back in the day. And the Slash cameo on “Be Your Dog” was completely next level.

Iggy, 50 years after “Search and Destroy” was written in 1973, is still the personification of a “street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm/runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb.”
Willie Nelson, at 90, is a majestic American treasure. His long winding career in and out of and around the music industry while creating a catalog of classic country, jazz, pop, blues and other genres is unparalleled and an integral part of the American music canon. His April 29-30 celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, “Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90th Birthday,” produced by Blackbird Presents, was outstanding and reflected the breadth of Nelson’s influence and genius with a range of incredible performers whose careers he helped inform. From Kris Kristofferson to Snoop Dogg to Neil Young to Chris Stapleton to Rosanne Cash to Tom Jones to Beck to Ziggy Marley to George Strait to Miranda Lambert and many others (and that was just day one)– each artist brought incredible interpolations of classic Willie songs.

The real highlight, though, was Willie. His sonorous, rich baritone at age 90 hasn’t lost a step. His voice’s sweet timbre was fully evident on “Poncho & Lefty” and “Sing One With Wille” (with Strait); “Are There Any More Real Cowboys” (with Young and Promise of the Real); and “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” (with Snoop Dogg). But what really stood out were his solo performances of “On the Road Again,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” making it clear beyond a shadow that hearing Willie’s voice live is a gift.

Nelson is on the road this summer with his “Outlaw Music Festival,” running June 23-Oct. 15, which will also feature an impressive changing cast. When asked by Ray Waddell in Pollstar’s April 24 Willie Nelson cover story about why the legend still tours at all, he answered simply. “Nothing can compete with a live show, with a live audience,” he said, “when you’ve got a good band with you, that’s as good as it gets.” It’s a sentiment everyone lucky enough to see Willie at the Bowl felt, too.

John Fogerty

John Fogerty helped close out Redondo Beach’s Beachlife Festival, an independent festival co-founded by Allen Sanford and Rob Lissner, on May 7. His electrifying set through classic Creedence Clearwater Revival songs felt like seeing a long-lost close friend. Between 1968 and 1972, CCR were on fire with nine Top 10 singles and eight gold albums before breaking up. On the aptly name “Celebration Tour,” Fogerty was in especially good spirits, in part because after many years of litigation he finally got the rights back to his songs – which he profusely thanked his wife Julie for. Also elevating the show was having his two sons, Shane and Tyler, in his band.

But really, more than anything, it’s Fogerty’s eminently recognizable set of CCR jams deeply embedded into the classic rock generation’s consciousness, along with his thick swamp boogie guitar and distinct voice that is simultaneously dulcet and lacerating and a knock-out-cold live music experience. Songs like “Up Around The Bend,” “Green River,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” “Born On The Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Run Through The Jungle,” “Down On The Corner,” “The Old Man Down The Road,” “Fortunate Son,” “Centerfield,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” are stompers that had the muti-generational crowd singing full-throated and dancing in unison.

All three of these music legends, who may have written their best songs decades ago, are today putting on transcendent performances at a time in their lives when others might be satisfied with just rocking on the front porch – instead of rockin’ their asses off on stage. Word to the wise: catch ‘em while you can.