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Photos: Iggy and The Stooges play a bizarre school gym gig in Michigan.

Photos: Iggy and The Stooges play a bizarre school gym gig in Michigan.

Above Photo: Iggy Pop, up close and personal, with a High School student audience in Michigan in 1970.

I always think true Greatness is revealed in smaller rather than bigger things. I mean, anyone can look great doing big stuff; like playing to huge audiences in super stadiums. But how many bands or people who are still famous 45 years later can point to pulling off a high school gig in 1970?

Iggy Pop receives many mentions in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, and I saw him play a gig in Liverpool in 1979 that still ranks as one of my best-ever gig memories, but nine years earlier, he’d pulled off another memorable gig.

The Stooges in the gym.

The Stooges in the gym.

The accompanying photos are of Iggy and the Stooges bizarrely played at Farmington High School in Michigan, on 5 December 1970. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to discover who owns the actual copyright, so I am unable to credit them properly.

Iggy disappears into a crowd of slightly nervous students (You can see his boot and leg).

Iggy disappears into a crowd of slightly nervous students (You can see his boot and leg, lower left).

The gig started late due to Iggy being arrested earlier that evening. He was bailed out by his band members. At this time the band had serious heroin problems, which may have accounted for their notoriously erratic live performances, so imagine that, and all the amplification, running riot in a high school gym. No wonder some of the students look scared.

That's a lot of amplification for a school gym...

That’s a lot of amplification for a school gym…

The Stooges came onstage around midnight. Dog-collared Iggy, shirtless, with red underpants poking through an unzippered fly then proceeded to put everything into his performance, on and off-stage.

Iggy in a dog collar, in front of students who don't seem to know how to take the performance.

Iggy in a dog collar, in front of students who don’t seem to know how to take the performance.

The band ended up only playing four songs in front of the hall packed with teenagers, some of whom look distinctly nervous in the photos.

Another shot from the Michigan high school gym gig.

Another shot from the Michigan high school gym gig.

Iggy then collapsed in the middle of the gym, on the lap of one teenager whose comment I found on one of the websites hosting the photos (see below).

Iggy's had enough.

Iggy’s had enough.

“It was my lap he landed on, shocked the crap out of me. You can see the side of my face in the pic. I remember I kept tapping his shoulder, “Sir? Excuse me, sir?” His tongue freaked me out, full of what looked like holes. I remember I was sitting next to my friend. I was begging him to get Iggy off of me!” (Nancy Bush)

Iggy Pop in amongst the audience again.

Iggy Pop in amongst the audience again.

What I haven’t been able to fathom out is why the band played that gig in the first place. If anyone can tell me, I’d be grateful.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

For more photos of the gig and how they surfaced, see: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/iggy_the_stooges_playing_at_a_high_school_gym_in_michigan_1970

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