Archive for the ‘Patti Smith’ Category

Patti Smith Veeps live stream from Electric Lady Studios 10 September 2021 2 AM BST!!

patti lady tixThis was (I think) my third live streaming event by Patti Smith. This was a little bit special as it was billed as a one-off live streaming event (no re-watching afterwards) from the famous Electric Lady Studios. There was one problem. It was at 2 AM BST (British Standard Time). Now my days of being awake, or getting up, at 2 AM are well past. I am just too old for this lark! It was different when I was younger and I was lying in a station bench in King’s Cross, Edinburgh Waverley or Victoria, but these days this was a real test of strength and willpower. Anyway, a little against my better judgement, I bought my ticket from Veeps. On the night before the event I drank my usual evening tipple, one can of draught Guinness, and went to sleep around 10 PM. At 1:45 AM my carer for the evening, Chris, woke me up, perched the computer above me in bed and switched it on ready for the show to start.

patti lady 3The event was billed as: “Patti Smith returns to Veeps for a very special collaboration with Electric Lady Studios and Spotify: streaming from the legendary recording facility on September 9th. A message from Patti “We are very proud to be part of this very special series at our favourite recording studio. It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform”.”

This was particularly interesting and tempting because of the venue. Electric Lady Studios is a famous recording studio in Greenwich Village, New York City. It was commissioned by Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Hendrix spent only ten weeks recording in Electric Lady before his death in 1970, but it was later used by many famous artists from the 1970s onwards, including Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie.

Patti has recently recorded a short album at Electric Lady Studios, and this event was a live performance of that album.

So, there I was, now fully awake and alert, waiting for Patti Smith to appear. It is always interesting at these live streaming events reading the chat box to see who else is watching alongside me (metaphorically). So, I notice messages such as “hello Patti from Tokyo”, “hi from London”, “hi there from Berlin”, “waiting for you Patti, from New York”, and so on… You get the idea.

patti lady 1Soon Patti did appear and we were treated to a great performance of the songs from the album. The aforementioned album contains a selection of old Patti Smith’s songs and some covers including a wonderful version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings”. The lady was on top form and was backed by her usual musicians including long-time collaborator Lenny Kaye. Great! Now, a few people in the chat box were questioning whether the performance was really live or pre-recorded. To be honest, the way the songs blended from one to the next did feel like a pre-recorded performance and Patti had little to say on the evening. However, to me it didn’t matter; it was still another opportunity to see the great lady performing at her best. The set was short, matching the length of the album. Some people in the chat seemed disappointed at this. Me, I was quite satisfied, and in some ways, a little relieved that I could return to my sleep; dreams of Patti Smith live swirling around in my head. I awoke the next morning, a little tired, but actually none the worse for my experience.

patti lady 2Setlist: April Fool; Ghost Dance; Blame it on the Sun; Broken Flag; Birdland; One Too Many Mornings; Peaceable Kingdom

The 34th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert Virtual Edition 17 Feb 2021

TibetHouse_Announce_1200x1800So once again, I ventured into the virtual world of live streaming. This tempting event was to celebrate the 34th birthday of Tibet House in New York. Unknown to me, there is an event every year to mark the birthday of the opening of Tibet House, largely orchestrated by Philip Glass and often featuring artists who I admire, such as Patti Smith in particular. So, when I read the streaming included Iggy Pop, Philip Glass, Patti Smith and none other than the Dalai Lama himself, I could not resist buying a ticket for virtual attendance.

“Tibet House US was founded at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who at the inauguration in 1987 stated his wish for a long-term cultural institution to ensure the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture, whatever the political destiny of the six million people of Tibet itself.”

dali lama tibet“I feel that Tibetan culture with its unique heritage –born of the efforts of many human beings of good spirit, of its contacts with Mongolian, Chinese, Indian, Nepalese and Persian culture, and of its natural environment – has developed a kind of energy which is very helpful for cultivating peace of mind and a joyful life. I feel that there is a potential for Tibet to help humanity, and particularly our Eastern neighbour, where millions of young Chinese have lost their spiritual values. In this way, I feel very strongly that Tibetan culture will have a role to play in the future of humanity.” (His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

iggy 1 tibetThe show started with a very dark performance by Iggy Pop of the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”. Iggy was staring right at me, his deep rasping voice emanating from his stark, wrinkled face. Quite scary stuff and not what I expected, but a great introduction to the concert.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, 1951)

This was followed by a musical performance by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson. There were quite a few artists who I did not recognise but each one performed a unique and appropriate contribution to the evening. Jessie Paris Smith, daughter of Patti, performed a solo acoustic “Monster”, followed by the Black Pumas. Then someone more familiar appeared. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips sang “Flowers of Neptune” from within the familiar bubble, which I have seen him perform from before.

After contributions by Angelique Kidjo and Brittany Howard, the more familiar face of Annie Lennox appeared at the piano singing a short set of “You Placed a Chill In My Heart”, “Cold” and finishing with the Eurythmics “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

After several further offerings, Eddie Vedder, performed Pearl Jam’s “Can’t Keep” on ukulele.

tibet alan and philWe were then treated to a video from a previous concert; of Philip Glass accompanying the legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Stunning stuff, which brought back memories of when Laura, David, Shauna and I travelled to Edinburgh Playhouse and were lucky enough to see Patti Smith perform an evening of Allen Ginsberg poetry, again accompanied by Philip Glass on piano.

Philip Glass is, of course, widely recognised as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He is one of the fathers of minimalism, although he often rejects this title. His striking repetitive style has influenced many important popular music artists, including David Bowie, and he regularly, to this day, provides accompaniment to poetry readings by artists such as Patti Smith.

Alan Ginsberg was a seminal figure in the “beat” movement, promoting, through his poetry, anti-war messages, the counterculture, sexual freedom and Eastern religion. I have a vague memory of him appearing at Morden Tower, Newcastle University in the 1970s, and for some reason, I did not go along; something I regret to this day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to us, marking the importance of Tibet House and its significance to culture and religion.tibet patti

The evening concluded with Patti Smith and her daughter, accompanied by Joan Baez and many more of the performers, singing very appropriately “People Have the Power”.

Not quite what I expected, but nonetheless an enjoyable event.


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.


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.


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.


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

Patti Smith A Black Friday Performance Veeps livestream 27 November 2020

patti ticketSo I finally entered the live streaming era. I couldn’t resist, of course, “seeing” Patti Smith “in concert” in a Veeps live streaming event on Black Friday. I must admit to being quite intrigued and excited about how my hero Patti would join me in my living room through my laptop. What would it be like? Could it in any way match a real live event?

Well all was to be revealed at 8 PM on 27th November. Having resisted the rush for online bargains on Black Friday, I made up for it by treating myself to joining Patti, her daughter Jessie Paris Smith and long-term sidekick Tony Shanahan for a concert in my living room. Patti appeared, on time (no long waiting for the artist to appear in this medium) in what looked like her Bowery upstairs room set out as a studio, with her patti tix 2daughter Jessie Paris on keyboards and Tony Shanahan or electric piano.

Patti started with a reading from her book “Year of the Monkey”, followed by a series of songs, most of which I recognised, on which she accompanied herself with an acoustic guitar and the keyboards of her fellow musicians. These included “My Blakean Year”(based around her thoughts and feelings of the poet William Blake), another poem “The Woes of the Young Scientists”, a beautiful cover of “After the Gold Rush” (for Neil Young’s 75th birthday the week before),”Elegie” for Jimi Hendrix, whose birthday it would have been that day (“Happy Birthday Jimi”, said Patti sweetly) and the lovely “This Is the Girl”, Patti illustrating the song with some lovely small hand/arm movements. The set closed with songs from more familiar territory including “Dancing Barefoot”, “People Have the Power” and, finally “Pissing in a River”. Patti was on fine form throughout, looking as lovely and natural as ever. A great performance by all three musicians.patti 1

Well, what are my final conclusions of a live streaming event? Did Patti really join me in my living room? Well, of course not, but there was a strange intimacy to the performance. Did it match up to a real-life event? No, nothing can match the atmosphere of a live rock performance, but it was okay as a substitute during these strange times. Would I go to another such event? Yes, perhaps, depending upon the artist and the context. Did I enjoy it? Come on, yes of course I enjoyed it. After all, it is Patti Smith!

patti 2

Setlist: Year of the Monkey (reading); Grateful; My Blakean Year; The Woes of the Young Scientists (Poem); After the Gold Rush (Neil Young cover); This Is the Girl; Elegie; Dancing Barefoot; Beneath the Southern Cross; Peaceable Kingdom / People Have the Power; Pissing in a River

Patti Smith Group play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015

Patti Smith & Band play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015
PattiSmithHorsesI hate the M62. There are always roadworks, traffic jams or accidents. Well this day was no different. Laura and I left home at 3.30pm; plenty of time (I thought) to drive the 130 miles or so to Manchester to see Patti Smith later that evening. I should have known better. The overhead motorway signs and the radio traffic alerts soon revealed what was in store for us. There had been an accident on the M62; and the westbound carriageway was closed between junctions 24 and 21. I checked, yup, just as I had feared; this would affect us. I started to plan alternative routes; but the traffic alerts warned me that they were all snarled up too. So off down the M62 it was. As we reached junction 24 we joined the queue; which filled every lane. It was around 5.30pm. By 7pm we had reached the junction and we were diverted off the motorway, still nose to tail in a queue of cars which was hardly moving. I decided to leave the queue and try to make my own way to Manchester. We headed into the centre of Huddersfield, then followed signs to Oldham and over Saddleworth moor into Manchester. We arrived in the city around 8pm, just as Patti was due on stage. By 8.10pm we were parked up and in the Apollo. As we took our seats Patti and the band walked onto the stage. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine ….” “G L O R I A” Woh we were off ….pattiIn an instant the stress of the journey disappeared. The Patti Smith Group was on stage and rocking. I was transported back to the ’70s; and the days when I first heard “Horses”. “Free Money” and “Gloria” were always my favourites; but last Monday every track sounded classic. Patti was on fire, and had some great cheeky Patti banter with the crowd. She recalled playing Manchester in 1978 (I saw you at Reading and Newcastle City Hall that tour Patti), walking into a guitar shop (“it looked like the one Bob Dylan walked into in Don’t Look Now” said Patti) and buying a Rickenbacker (which she told us she still has).
Patti took a break after “Horses” while the band played a Velvet Underground medley (“the greatest band from New York City”). She returned to sing the end of “White Light, White Heat” and then “Dancing Barefoot”. A guy shouted for “Piss Factory”: “I can’t do that now ….OK I’ll try a little”. The anthemic “Because the Night” had the entire hall singing. “People have the Power” closed the show, as it always seems to now; can’t say that it is my favourite Patti song, but it is growing on me.
For the encore we were back to the ’70s again for a crazy, wailing, totally manic, possessed version of the Who’s “My Generation” which ended with Patti trashing her Fender Strat; breaking each string one by one. As she snapped the last string; which was the thick brass sixth string, she flung the guitar to the floor. Patti and the band left the stage to the sound of the feedback ringing out through the hall. Stunning. Hail the new wave.
Setlist: Gloria; Redondo Beach; Birdland; Free Money; Kimberly; Break It Up; Land (including reprise of Gloria); Elegie; Privilege (Set Me Free); Velvet Underground medley (Rock n Roll – I’m Waiting For The Man – White Light, White Heat); Patti returns towards the end of the medley; Dancing Barefoot; Piss Factory; Because the Night; People Have the Power
Encore: My Generation

Patti Smith The Sage Gateshead 23rd May 2007

Patti Smith The Sage Gateshead 23rd May 2007
pattitix2007Patti Smith married Fred “Sonic” Smith, former member of the MC5, in 1980. For most of the 1980s she went into semi-retirement from music, living with her family in Michigan. In 1994 Fred Smith tragically died of a heart attack, and soon afterwards Patti decided to move back to New York. Her friends Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and beat poet Allen Ginsberg reportedly urged her to go back out on the road.
In 2007 Patti Smith was touring the UK and returned to the North East for a concert at The Sage Gateshead. This was almost 30 years since I last saw her live. My friend John and his family were over from the USA at the time and John and his son Matthew came along to the concert with David and me. John and I had tickets in the front row, and we bought a couple of more seats for Matthew and David, who were seated in the circle.
Patti had just released the album “Twelve”, which (as the title suggests) contains twelve tracks, all of which are cover versions, including songs by Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. Patti was as crazy and wild as ever, and in a particularly chatty mood. She was quite taken by the Sage concert hall; she told us it reminded her of a “big silver peanut”, and how she had been walking about the riverside, looking at the “big silver peanut”. Patti asked us all to stand up, but a girl down front explained that if we did we might all be “hoyed oot”. It took a little time for others to explain to Patti that “hoyed oot” was Geordie for “thrown out”. Patti’s reaction: “When you want to do something, make everyone do it so they can’t stop you”; several of the audience followed her advice and stood up for the rest of the concert. She was in quite a cheeky mood overall. I went to the gents; when I returned I had to make my way along the front row right in front of Patti; she quipped: “Did you have a good p**s?”. [Morale: don’t sit too close to the front at a Patti Smith concert].
The set consisted of classic 1970s Patti: “Free Money”, “Because the Night”, “Gloria”, and several covers from “Twelve”: “Changing of the Guards” (Dylan), “Are You Experienced?” (Hendrix), “Within You Without You” (Beatles), “White Rabbit” (Jefferson Airplane), “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed), “Gimme Shelter” (Stones), “Soul Kitchen” (Doors), “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana) and “Helpless” (Neil Young), all given the Patti Smith treatment.
A great concert by a true artist.
Full setlist: Redondo Beach, Free Money, Changing of the Guards, Are You Experienced?, My Blakean Year, Beneath the Southern Cross, Within You Without You, White Rabbit, Perfect Day, Pissing in a River, Because the Night, Gimme Shelter, Soul Kitchen, Peaceable Kingdom/People Have The Power, Gloria. Encore: Smells Like Teen Spirit, Babelogue/Rock n Roll Nigger, Helpless.
In 2007 the line-up of Patti Smith’s Band was Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty, Tony Shanahan and Jackson Smith (Patti’s son).

Patti Smith in 1978 at Reading Festival (27th Aug) & Newcastle City Hall (29th Aug)

Patti Smith in 1978 at Reading Festival (27th Aug) & Newcastle City Hall (29th Aug)
pattiflyer1Patti Smith is a force of nature; outspoken, compelling, authentic, passionate, kooky, arty, funny, challenging, cheeky and the craziest rock ‘n’ roll anti-star to arrive on the scene during the late ’70s. She exploded out of the new wave movement, but there was always much more to her than punk rock. Patti wears her rock and pop influences on her sleeve, and her music owes as much to The Who, The Stones and Dylan as it does to the Pistols and The Ramones.
I first saw her live in 1978, twice in three days; on a Sunday night closing the Reading Rock Festival, and then again onTuesday at Newcastle City Hall. Patti had just been in the UK singles charts with “Because the Night” which she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen, and which reached No. 5.
Patti closed the 1978 Reading Festival, headlining the Sunday which also featured Ian Gillan, Tom Robinson and Foreigner. She was amazing and had the whole crowd with her as she stormed, screamed and snarled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger”, tore into “Gloria”, “Because the Night” and sanf great covers of the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star)” and the Who’s “My Generation”. Stunning.
pattiplectrum I have a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger” plectrum which Patti threw into the crowd at Reading. I scrabbled around the ground, in the mud for it, after she threw a handfull into the crowd.
Set list; 27th August 1978, Reading Festival
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger, Privilege (Set Me Free), Redondo Beach, Free Money, Ghost Dance, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star), Ask the Angels, 25th Floor, Because the Night, Gloria, You Light Up My Life, My Generation, Godspeed
I saw Patti two days later concert at Newcastle City Hall and she was equally as electric. Support came from The Pop Group. The set was slightly longer than her Reading performance. The last song was a wonderful performance of the Stones’ “Time is on my Side”. I have a flyer from the City Hall concert, the front (see above) has a picture of Patti saluting, “78 Speed…(?) and “r.e.f.m.” (Radio Ethiopia Field Marshall ?), and some other words I can’t quite make out. The back (see below) includes some egyptian hieroglyphics and a copy of the lyrics of “Ghost Dance” in Patti’s own hand.
“What is it children
That falls from the sky
Ti Yi
Ti Ya
Ti Ye Yi-Yi.

Mana from Heaven
of the most high
food from the father
Ti Ya
Ti Yi”

Set list, 29th August 1978, City Hall, Newcastle
Godspeed, Till Victory, Privilege (Set Me Free), Kimberly, Redondo Beach, Space Monkey, High On Rebellion/25th Floor, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star), Pumping (My Heart), Because the Night, Radio Ethiopia, Babelogue, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger, Gloria, My Generation, Time Is on My Side

The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978

The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
readingprog1 This was the year punk finally arrived. The festival was now officially known as the Reading Rock Festival, having dropped “jazz” from the title and the line-up, and weekend tickets cost all of £8.95. Our old friend John Peel was compere, as always, and a van load of us descended on the riverside site, having driven part of the way down on Thursday, gone for a drink in Wetherby and slept on Wetherby racecourse (the crazy things you do when you are young 🙂 ) Highlights of the weekend for me were Penetration (I was a big fan at the time), Sham 69, The Jam, Status Quo (most of our group were heavily into them) and Patti Smith.
Friday line-up: Dennis O’Brien; The Automatics; New Hearts (who would become mods and change their name to Secret Affair); Radio Stars; Penetration; Sham 69; The Pirates; Ultravox; The Jam.
Memories: Radio Stars were always good for a laugh; “Dirty Pictures” (turn me on) was a favourite at the time; it was great to see local north east punk heroes playing up on the massive Reading stage Penetration, although they suffered from murky sound throughout their set; The Pirates rocked the place with no-nonsense rock’n’roll, “Shaking All Over” and ace guitarist the late Mick Green (a big influence on Wilko); and the John Foxx version of Ultravox! played a quite moody atmospheric electronic set. The main event was Sham 69, who were excellent with Jimmy Pursey his usual cockney “boy on the streets” self, and those anthems “What have we got?”, “Borstal Breakout” and “If the Kids are United”. The Sham Army had come across to Reading in force, all braces, No 2 cuts, and Doc Martins, and ready to take on those hippies. We were right at the front, although we soon moved to the side of the crowd when the fights started. A bunch of skins climbed on to the stage, and Pursey tried to call order, pleading with the crowd to stop fighting to no avail. He was in tears, watching bedlam and violence all around him, and not being able to do anything to stop it. But that was the nature of a Sham gig at the time. Jimmy even brought Steve Hillage on stage to show that it was ok to mix with hippies, but that just annoyed the skins more. A nasty, frightening experience, which marred an excellent performance by Sham. The Jam were great, Weller the edgy young mod, getting himself into a strop at the poor sound quality, and trashing his gear. Punk really had arrived at Reading.
The Jam set included: Mr Clean ; Away From the Numbers; Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane; Tonight at Noon; David Watts; Down in the Tube Station at Midnight; “A” Bomb in Wardour Street; News of the World
Saturday line-up: Speedometors; The Business; Jenny Darren; Next; Gruppo Sportivo; Nutz; Greg Kihn Band; Lindisfarne; Spirit; The Motors; Status Quo.
readingprog2Saturday was a little more straightforward rock. Lindisfarne had recently reunited and hit the charts with “Run For Home”. The Motors were OK (Airport!). Spirit were excellent, with great Hendrix-style guitar from Randy California. Status Quo played a solid respectable set, nothing earth shattering. I know quite a few people were disappointed with them that night, but I thought they were OK. “Dirty Water’ was to become a crowd singalong favourite.
Status Quo setlist: Caroline; Roll Over Lay Down; Backwater; Rockers Rollin; Is There A Better Way; You Don’t Own Me; Hold You Back; Rockin All Over The World; Dirty Water; 4500 Times; Big Fat Mama; Don’t Waste My Time; Roadhouse Blues; Rain; Down Down; Bye Bye Johnny.
Sunday line-up: After The Fire; Chelsea; Pacific Eardrum; Bethnal; Squeeze; John Otway; The Albion Band; Paul Inder; Ian Gillan Band; Tom Robinson Band; Foreigner; Patti Smith Group.
Memories: Paul Inder is Lemmy’s son and was 11 years old (!) at the time; what a great thing to do when you are 11 🙂 ; Bethnal were a good band, who had a manic violin player; Squeeze were fun; Otway was as crazy as ever (Really Free); Tom Robinson led a mass singalong of “Glad to be Gay”; and Foreigner went down well with the crowd. But the day belonged to Patti Smith who was amazing. I was a big fan and left my mates to push my way right to the front of the crowd for Patti’s set. She had the whole crowd with her as she tore into “Gloria”, “Because the Night” and great covers of the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star)” and the Who’s “My Generation”. Stunning. I saw her again at Newcastle City Hall two days later and she was equally as electric.
Patti Smith setlist: Rock n Roll Nigger; Privilege (Set Me Free); Redondo Beach; Free Money; Ghost Dance; It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World; So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star); Ask the Angels; 25th Floor; Because the Night; Gloria, You Light Up My Life; My Generation; Godspeed

Patti Smith and Philip Glass The Poet Speaks Edinburgh Festival Aug 13th 2013

Patti Smith and Philip Glass Edinburgh Festival Aug 13th 2013
pattiprog Laura, David, Shona and I spent a day at the Edinburgh festival yesterday. We travelled up primarily to see Patti Smith perform with Philip Glass in “The Poet Speaks”, a tribute to Allen Ginsberg. The main concert was at the Playhouse Theatre last night, however we were lucky enough to attend a small intimate “conversations with….” session with Patti and Philip yesterday lunchtime. We also took in a stand up show, and had a great, but very long day.
From the festival website: “Two of the pillars of contemporary music come together for an intimate evening of poetry, music and song in tribute to their friend, the great Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg. Punk poet and provocateur Patti Smith performs both her own and Ginsberg’s poetry, with accompaniment and solo pieces for piano from founding father of minimalism Philip Glass. Renowned as one of the originators of the Beat movement, Ginsberg’s raw, visceral poems, including Howl, Kaddish and Wichita Vortex Sutra, range from forceful fury to profound spirituality.” pattiti1 Our day started early, leaving shortly after 8am and driving up the A1 to Edinburgh, arriving shortly after 11am. We drove straight up the Royal Mile, and easily found The Hub, which is the central point for the International Festival and was also the venue for the first session that we were attending. We entered the main hall of The Hub, and took a seat at the front just in front of the stage. The red sofa in front of us was soon occupied by Patti Smith, Philip Glass and the Reverend Richard Coles (ex Communard, musician, broadcaster and priest). Richard was charged with questioning Patti and Philip who talked freely and with affection of their old friend Alan Ginsberg. It was fascinating to hear of the background to their relationship with Ginsberg, and how they came to start to perform his poetry. Patti revealed that it was Ginsberg who persuaded her to return to performing after the loss of her husband, and she also shared how she listens to Philip’s music while she writes. The pair took some questions from the audience before leaving to prepare for the evening’s performance. pattitix2
We spent the afternoon exploring some of the Fringe activities around Pleasance, and took in one stand-up act. The evening performance was at the Playhouse theatre at 8.30pm. Playhouse was packed for the event, which mixed Smith reading her own poetry, with that of Alan’s and Glass seated at a grand piano accompanied her. A collage of images, paintings and photographs from Ginsberg’s collection provided a backdrop to the performance. This was very different to the rock performance format which I am used to, but it was a very welcome change for me. I had a sense that I was witnessing a very special event. Patti started off with one of Ginsberg’s poems and then read some of her own writing; each performed with great spirit and passion. The pair then each performed their own short set. Patti read Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Land of Nod”, which she explained was her childhood favourite, and sang, along with her regular guitarist Tony Shanahan, “Dancing Barefoot”, old favourite “Pissing in a River”, and a great version of John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”. Glass then held the crowd spellbound with three short piano pieces. The pair then closed the evening with some further readings. The crowd called them back for an encore of “People Have the Power”, which to be honest was ok, but didn’t quite fit with the evening, Glass having some obvious difficulty in making the switch to the boogie oriented bar piano which was required. A truly great and inspirational evening. We left the theatre around 10.10pm and headed back down the A1, arriving home around 1am.

Patti Smith Scarborough Spa 21st April 2013

Patti Smith Scarborough Spa 21st April 2013
pattitix Laura and I went to sunny (although cold) Scarborough last night to spend an evening in the company of Patti Smith, accompanied by Tony Shanahan. This was an intimate concert in the Spa Theatre; one of three dates that have come about as part of a visit to Yorkshire and the Bronte country, that Patti has been making with her sister (it was her sister’s 65th birthday treat). So there was lots of talk of the Bronte sisters, and some music, poetry and chat. Patti was in good spirits and on great form. This was the first time that Laura has seen her in concert, and she was very impressed. patti Patti Smith seems so natural in concert these days; going to see her is like going to see an old friend who chats to you about what has been going on in her life. So last night she told how she had been to visit Ann Bronte’s grave in Scarborough, how she loves watching UK TV detective shows (Frost, Lewis, Morse, Cracker are all favourites), and how she enjoyed great kippers for breakfast for the first time (in her Scarborough hotel). Many of the songs were dedicated to the Bronte sisters and their brother, and Banga was even dedicated to their dog Keeper (with much barking from Patti and the audience: you had to be their 🙂 ). She also read a poem by Ann Bronte (A Reminiscence), and introduced Because the Night by reading an extract from her recent book “Kids”. All pretty powerful stuff, and an awesome and capitaviting performance by a true artist who is as relevant today as she ever was (and her voice is just as strong. Awesome. Setlist: Dancing Barefoot; April Fool; It’s a Dream; Beneath the Southern Cross; Ghost Dance; Peaceable Kingdom; My Blakean Year; This Is the Girl; Pissing in a River; Because the Night. Encore: Banga; People Have the Power.

A Reminiscence by: Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

ES, thou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door,
And pace the floor that covers thee,

May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
And think that, frozen, lies below
The lightest heart that I have known,
The kindest I shall ever know.

Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
‘Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o’er,
‘Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;

To think a soul so near divine,
Within a form so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.