Metallic KO Flashback: The Mercenaries of Time (Part 2)
This is part two of Michelle Dawn Saint Thomas's LSD-fuelled re-iiving of the notorious final Iggy & the Stooges show at the Michigan Palace in 1974. Part one is here.
The entire theater had become a massive downpour of flying objects. Everything from cans, bottles and coins were being thrown up onto the stage. The situation became contagious; soon random missiles were airborne everywhere throughout the hall.
The Palace now was half vacant and nearly everyone that remained was either clamoring to get closer to the stage for purposes of their own agendas, or rapidly exiting the venue. The stage itself looked a terrible sight, unsuitable for even the most daredevil of performers to be upon it at all.
Total chaos reigned supreme.
Iggy and the Stooges
+ Elephant's Memory
Michigan Palace, February 9, 1974
It was from this mayhem that I observed Satori Circus, standing at balcony's edge, cleverly reflect his radiance toward the stage. In a matter of seconds, a powerful mystical energy seemed to affect the crowd. This esoteric moment was recognized and seized upon immediately by the masterful Stanley T. MadHatter.
The omnipotent force gave Stanley a most magnificent aura that was untouchable by any thrown items from the crowd. He stood alone against the antagonistic mob and, in a supernatural Quintilian manner, addressed them with such vigor that he was moderately successful in calming the riotous factions. As he spoke, objects that were thrown in his direction bounced harmlessly away, as though he was surrounded by a protective force field.
Stanley was at the top of his game. In his signature style, he impressively displayed an unlikely combination of heavenly grace and Motor-City attitude. I had seen him emcee previously at the Grande Ballroom, but never had I witnessed the MadHatter be more brilliant than on this particular night. With stunning eloquence, he managed to get the crowd fired up to the point that large segments of the audience were now loudly clamoring for The Stooges to reappear.
And he didn't stop there. He then worked his Quintilian magic on The Stooges themselves, and in quick time Iggy reappeared, and soon after that the rest followed, one by one.... James, the second to reappear, began performing with Iggy as a duo. Before long, each Asheton brother, along with Scott Thurston on piano, had been prompted both by the chanting crowd and the encouragement of Iggy and James to retake their respective places.
I was completely astonished by the miraculous intervention of Stanley T. MadHatter, powered by the graces of Satori Circus, and the awe-inspiring effect that it had. The Stooges were now again launching an all out rockin' assault, and I had never heard them perform better. They were kickin' out the sound with such vigor and angst that, if I had to attest to their ability at that very moment, I would have certainly stated that they sounded like the greatest band that ever existed.
They gave it their all. Thurston's piano stylings provided a stinging backdrop for The Stooges as they blasted out their sound in damning defiance to the vulgarities, death threats and hurled objects that were still being thrown from the hooligans in the crowd.
The scene brought to mind a critique I had read by Lester Bangs of The Stooges' performance at a club in another part of the city the night before, something about Iggy feeding on the hostility of the crowd and throwing it back at them, an “eerie, frightening symbiosis.”*
I however, was seeing a Wagnerian struggle between the physical and spiritual, crescending into an oscillating battle between two separate planes of existence, each vying for control of the venue. It was as thrilling to witness as it was dangerous to experience. Against these unbelievable odds, The Stooges jammed on, and at their finest. There was no other band that could have performed with such exuberance under these conditions. However, this Stooges nirvana was to be all too short; their death bell was already sounding the tone of their destructive end.
It was in this battle between the forces of light and dark that my eyes bore witness to the power this spell, cast by Satori Circus, had had upon the endurance of the performers. The events of a night as powerful as this must, I believe, exist forever in a timeless universe on a multitude of levels. This show was of such magnitude that it would exist forever.
Satori Circus had begun floating effortlessly over the mayhem of the crowd and, with a wave of his hand, slowed the movements of all in attendance except for mine and his own. I realized he was searching the crowd for something or someone. It was then that I spotted a girl in black leather moving at normal speed, totally unaffected by the powerful magic of Satori Circus.
It was the Mistress of Black, Darla Dade. Yes, I'd encountered her before—she was the woman who had attempted to poison me in Long Beach at the Quicksilver/Dogs concert. Satori Circus had spotted Darla Dade as well; I could tell by the darts that began flying from his eyes in her direction.
Darla tried to hide herself within the crowd. As she moved among the people, she created a whirlwind of papers and objects about her, attempting to conceal herself. To her credit, by the use of her contrivances, she was the only one in the Palace who was a match for the wizardly Satori Circus. She then signalled to her throng of biker dupes to continue disrupting the performance as she made her getaway. As she departed, the Palace was nothing more than a hailstorm of debris. The show continued but her damage was done.
Satori Circus transmitted his thoughts to me: “Darla Dade was the culprit here. It was her devious efforts that caused the disruption. I will seek her out in another time and place, and put an end to her madness once and for all.
“For few believe in my powerful secrets, so I must be careful. However, in the future many shall know the name of Satori Circus! The secrets I possess are many and powerful, from being able to stop time in its tracks to creating passion out of thin air with my many potions. My magic attracts women and women attract Satori Circus!”
Then Satori Circus began to dematerialize. The last words I heard him cry were: “Let there be Circuses” and “when The Stooges next rock, let it be for the world!” The phrases gave off a ghostly echo, and in the blink of an eye, the charismatic Satori Circus the Armarantine was gone.
Such were the bizarre events taking place in the Palace this Detroit night. A combination of forces that encompassed things I never knew possible, nor even knew existed.
In a dark mental flash I saw the Asheton brothers leave the stage, even before they could finish the finale of their distributing beat to “Gimme Danger.” Another bottle shattered in between Iggy and James, and the remaining members departed, to return no more.
Amidst all the garbage and broken debris on the stage floor, Stanley the MadHatter came out one final time, but only to close the show. As he approached the mic, someone in the crowd tilted the stand and attempted to steal the microphone. Stanley chastised the culprit to such an extent that the would-be thief appeared to be frozen in his tracks, and upon the MadHatter's command, meekly surrendered his attempted ill-gotten souvenir. The curtain then closed. The concert was over, kaput.
What a night. I could not believe it had played out like this, but it had.
On my way to my car, still reeling from the events of the evening, I suddenly remembered the camera. My god, the pictures! The first time I had attended this concert I had not had a camera, but this time I had. Would the photos develop?
I reached out my right hand to unlock the car door. The key turned in the lock, but as I reached for the door handle with my left, my fingers were unable to grasp it. My body had begun evaporating, and in seconds I had faded into a darkened nothingness. As I spun in the vortex, I realized that events in time could, and in some cases should be changed, but to what level was it possible to do so? I did not know. Was I treading on dangerous territory? Could this “time tripping,” if controlled, be the ultimate avenue of historical, cultural and political subversion?
I zapped back from the vortex into my parent's home in Lincoln Park. The title track of Raw Power was still spinning on the turntable. A few more rotations and I felt myself fade out again—ah yes, I recalled, this was a two-part trip. In seconds, I found myself back in my hotel room in downtown Detroit.
I was now back in present time, both exhausted and bedazzled. I spotted my book, “Lost From The Ottawa” written by Pun Plamondon, which I had along as my reading companion, perched on top of my satchel. As I moved the book aside and peered into my bag, I was in a tethered state of nervous trepidation. Had my efforts been worthy? I wondered anxiously.
Pulling out my photo album of past concerts, I quickly leafed through the pages, my heavy eyes turning into large saucers when I spotted what had never existed before—photos of the last STOOGES performance ever, and at the Michigan Palace!!! Yes! God, how I screamed! Here were the pictures I myself had taken of The Stooges at the Michigan Palace, as if they had always existed. I had done it. I had created a small but effective aberration in the oscillatory universe.
With newfound energy and enthusiasm, I decided to righteously top off this evening properly. Mischa, I thought, congratulating myself, let's spend the rest of this summer night with The SRC at The Magic Bag! With a smile on my lips and the sounds of “Bolero” beating in my heart, I grabbed my jacket and headed off down Woodward Avenue.
* Lester Bangs essay, “Iggy Pop: Blowtorch in Bondage"
Michelle Dawn Saint Thomas photo.