We Like Birdland
Patti Smith @ BAM 12/1/05
Playing all of her legendary first album Horses to celebrate its 30th anniversary and recent reissue as a double CD set (the 2nd disc includes a similar concert given earlier this year in London), Patti Smith wowed the audience with a performance full of so much unbridled energy, passion and vigor that it shamed many performers more than half of her age.
With the starting time at a very early 7:45, the first set consisted of Horses from start to finish. Patti was backed by 2 former members of her ‘70s band (guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty) along with long-time band member Tony Shanahan on bass and keyboards and 2 special guests, Flea and Tom Verlaine. Kaye, Daugherty and Verlaine all played on the original album whereas Flea (who handled most of the evening’s bass duties) did not, but those worried if he would fit in were left assured by his nimble and understated, yet energetic playing, complete with lots of head-bobbing and running around the stage. In sharp contrast, Verlaine sat on a stool and looked down at his guitar the entire time.
From the opening “Gloria” to the “Land” trilogy (including the chilling “Horses” and “Land of a Thousand Dances”) to the beautiful closer “Elegie” with stops in between including the cod-reggae “Redondo Beach” and the passionate and fiery “Free Money”, Patti was in full command and delivered a top-notch performance. To make it even better, the sound was also top-notch at this lovely concert hall.
For the second set, they came out and played songs from Patti’s other albums along with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced”. The set culminated in a rousing version of “Rock and Roll Nigger”, complete with Patti’s son Jackson shredding along with Kaye and Verlaine on guitar. If it would’ve ended there, I would’ve been more than happy, but with the audience begging for more, Patti came back out and played an unscheduled 2nd encore and the show culminated with the ubiquitous “People Have the Power”.
Regardless, of all the times I’ve seen her, this was by far the best and was simply an incredible night of rock and roll.
Sorry for the very late post. This review was first published on the Big Takeover website. You can see it here.
PREVIOUSLY: My review of Patti Smith at Central Park Summerstage back in August