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).

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