Patti Smith and her Band

patti on stage

Today I’m rocking a black blazer in homage to Patti Smith, who ROCKED Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night:

patti

She’s 66 but skanked on that stage like a teenager – bowing down to mock-kiss Lenny Kaye’s (the long-time guitarist in her band) feet, running to each edge of the stage to welcome her fans, hopping and jumping and dancing through the entire set.

She played a mixture of songs – new and old – and all AMAZING. Highlights were Dancing Barefoot:

Also April Fool and This is the Girl (written for, and about, Amy Winehouse) from the album she released last June, BANGA and her old 70s classics Gloria (from Horses):

And Because the Night (from Easter).

Between songs she entertained the crowd – spitting, saying ‘fuck’ a lot and responding to the wolf whistles and heckles with witty comebacks.

Halfway through, Patti left the stage – giving Lenny the limelight for two or three songs. The audience’s energy dropped at this point but it made her return to the stage all the more powerful.

Clad in her usual black blazer, jeans, loose t-shirt and cowboy boots, with her frizzy grey/brown hair flying around the stage with her, as she bounced and head-banged; it looked as though she’d pulled her clothes on that morning, in the dark, and hadn’t bothered to get changed for the performance. This, of course, added to the appeal. She said that she’d thrown black linen over the mirrors in her dressing room – and probably wasn’t joking.

Her arrogance (“I’m an icon, I’m a legend”) bequeathed her yet more allure – reminding the audience that she actually IS a living legend. She manages to pull off the brazen bravado because of her seemingly carefree attitude about her appearance, and what anyone thinks of her. A perfectly preened, conventionally beautiful woman wouldn’t get away with it.

She said (after an interlude to clear a bubble in her throat) “Now, I better get back to work. But if you knew me – I’m like this all the time.” She then explained that her work and life merge; are indistinguishable from one another. This is what makes Patti Smith so damn cool – she is first and foremost an artist: everything else is just a by-product.

She really did rock. It was emotional.

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