Patti Smith Birthday live stream 30 December 2020

patti4An invitation from Patti Smith dropped into my mailbox:

“The winter solstice filled me with new energy, I hope for you as well. I am writing to thank you for your support, and spending time with Tony, my daughter Jesse Paris and I on Black Friday. We hope to feel your presence again on my birthday, Wednesday, December 30th. There will be the full band beneath a full moon.”

How could I resist? Celebrating Patti’s 74th birthday with herself and her band in the comfort of my own room. Excellent! There was one small drawback, however. This time the concert was at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time (USA) which was 2 AM UK Greenwich Mean Time. Still a man has to do what a man has to do; so I pressed the button and bought a ticket.

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So it was that, last Wednesday, both Alexa and my nightshift carer Jackie were given precise instructions to wake me up at 1:45 AM so that I was ready for the start of Patti’s concert. The plan worked precisely and I was awake, remarkably refreshed, ready for the show. This time Patti was accompanied by her band including long time member Lenny Kaye, who had also celebrated his 74th birthday only a few days earlier. A small tot of whiskey surprisingly helped keep me awake and was an ideal accompaniment for the early morning (or late evening, depending on your perspective) concert.

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The set was a collection of Patti Smith favourites from throughout her career. She started with “Grateful” dedicated to Jerry Garcia, followed by “Kimberly”. Then we were transported right back to the start with a wonderful “Free Money”, building up to its majestic climax, Patti’s voice sounding as strong and unique as ever. “My Blakean Year” was followed by a short poetry reading. Then it was back to familiar Patti Smith territory, with a number of favourites including “Dancing Barefoot” which she dedicated to her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith; both of their children performing with her.

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The set climaxed with a great rendition of her collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night”, which she also dedicated to Fred “Sonic” Smith. Hughes in Billboard (2018) declared “Because the Night” “a layered tribute for Fred and Patti’s love, as well as the family and art that came from it.” (Billboard, Hughes, 2018) Then it was time to sing “Happy Birthday” to the great lady herself, complete with birthday cake. I noticed that she blew out the candles with a fan; I guess really blowing them out is not acceptable in the Covid world; it is strange how things have changed in so many little ways. Finally, a lovely hours entertainment closed with “People Have the Power” and a reference to the new political regime in the USA. 3 AM and it was time to go back to sleep. Happy Birthday Patti.

Setlist: Grateful; Kimberly; Free Money; My Blakean Year; Poem; Ghost Dance; Dancing Barefoot; We Three; Beneath the Southern Cross; Because the Night; Happy Birthday to You; People Have the Power

Live Birthday Performance with her band: Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Tony Shanahan, Jay Dee Daugherty, Jesse Paris Smith and Jackson Smith

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