Patti Smith & Band play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015
I 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 ….In 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
Archive for the ‘Patti Smith’ Category
Patti Smith & Band play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015
Patti Smith The Sage Gateshead 23rd May 2007
Patti 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 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.
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 Ye Yi-Yi.
Mana from Heaven
of the most high
food from the father
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
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.
Saturday 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 Edinburgh Festival Aug 13th 2013
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.” 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.
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
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 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.
Patti Smith Newcastle Academy 4th September 2012
Patti Smith is one special artist. She is many things: a legend, an icon, a punk, a poet, a rocker, an outsider, but above everything what really strikes me is the total authenticity of the lady. With Patti what you see is 100% what you get; each and every time. Last night Patti was in a playful mood; she came onstage around 8.30pm, and treated a packed Newcastle Academy to a set which mixed tracks from her new album “Banga” and classics from her back catalogue. She seemed pre-occupied by the chicken that she had eaten at Nandos earlier in the day, which got the blame for everything. She fluffed the start of the first song, and started again, which was fine, and told us that it was because of the chicken. Later on in the set she admitted that she was chattering a lot, and wondered if the chicken was making her do that. Patti was indeed in a chatty mood. She told us that she’d been to the hairdressers to have her hair curled (she also thought that this might have caused her chatty mood, along with the chicken) and how she’d been photographed by the NME for their icon series, holding a copy of an old NME from 1976 which featured her on the cover. Enough about Patti’s chat; which I mentioned to illustrate the good mood that she was in. The music was great. She played several classics which went down well with the crowd: Free Money, Pissing In The River, Because The Night. All great. Long time band partner Lenny Kaye had his own spot, which he dedicated to local band Penetration, and featured: Night Time / (We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet / Born To Lose / Pushin’ Too Hard. During this spot Patti did her cute quirky little dance while Lenny and the guys ran through the songs. Gloria was the closing number. The encore was the title track of her new album Banga, followed by People Have the Power, and closing with an ace version of Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigger, the entire place singing “Outside of Society”. She closed around 10.20pm; almost two hours after she started. Patti closed by telling us how much she had enjoyed it, explaining that some nights are great musically, but that last night she had “fun”, and that Newcastle was a magical place. We all believed her; and judging by the comments of everyone leaving the venue, the crowd agreed and had great fun too. Just amazing. Some people do get better with time.