Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Is there anyone on this planet cooler than Patti Smith?

Ummm, no!!!

I sat in my seat, watching the State Theatre Sydney fill up. People from all walks of life were eagerly taking their seats.

Is there anything more exciting than entering a theatre and watching it fill up prior to a gig?


It is my favourite thing to do, take my seat, sit back and watch, feel the anticipation rise and rise. It's palpable and the intensity is inexplicable.

The choice of music prior is always fun, and this was no exception, a lovely mix of punk and 60s. Iggy's The Passenger played, and bouncy bubbly tones of the classic added to the inferno within the theatre.

And the lights went down.

And the band started to walk out.

A huge backdrop of that famous Mapplethorpe pic, the cover of Horses, showing a gorgeous, young, and feisty Patti unfurled.

People gasped...you could actually hear that.

And then the squall really started, Patti walked on stage and boom, standing ovation. 

I burst into tears.

It was too much, and too perfect.

I sat and composed myself and they ripped into Gloria and I felt my heart and soul and stomach collide in some sort of euphoria unlike anything I have experienced in a long time...if ever.

She owned the State Theatre, unlike anyone had ever owned it.

She sounded amazing musically, the band were tight.

And it was pure joy to behold.

I had no idea what to expect, I do love her music, but really I am more of a fan of Patti Smith the person, as opposed to Patti Smith the musician. I know her music well, and know it is seminal and important. I like her voice, but know full well - like Dylan - it can be hit and miss.

I guess I really fell in love with her when I read Just Kids a few years back. A more stunning book I have yet to read. Her words spread like lyrics or poetry across the page, and the subject matter of her time in NYC with Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 60s and early 70s was delectable.

And with that book it seemed her star shone again, an aging doyen of the punk scene, an almost biblical figure, leading the world with her simplicity, her politics, her feminism, her beauty, her knowledge, and her no fucks given attitude.

"Take me now baby, here as I am"

So when the tickets went on sale, I knew I had to go. But no one was keen to come with me and I was bereft.

But it was like Patti spoke to me and told me to wake up to myself and I bought a single ticket. I'd treat myself to a few days in Sydney around the event!

And so I did.

I had forgotten what a great seat I had selected, tickets had been purchased so long ago. In that middle mezzanine section of The State Theatre, about 5 rows back in the middle on the aisle. I pretty much looked over and down at Patti.

And so, back to the concert...Gloria rang out, loud and wild, sharp and strong.

And morphed into the funky Redondo Beach, and the Jazzy Birdland, finishing up with Free Money.

Patti didn't speak much between these tracks, she was on a rhythmic roll, unlike any I had seen before!

She made a little joke about, that was Side A, now you take the record out and turn it over and pull the arm out, etc etc. Now here is Side B and boom, straight into Kimberly.

Next was the tale of Break It Up, a tribute to Jim Morrison that came to her in a dream. It was wild and romantic and crazy and sexy.

Land and Elegy followed, with the later - a tribute to Jimi Hendrix - including added names to roll-call her beloved dead including Ramones, Prince, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed and of course her beloved Fred, who she still thinks of as her boyfriend.

8 songs and my mind was blown, the band were superbly tight she was a mix of poetress, goddess, rock and roll superstar, and punk doyen. Perfection.

She talked some more and then launched into Dancing Barefoot.

More...there was going to be more...

Oh yes there was.

A dude in the audience told her that was the stage Prince did one of his final concerts from.

Patti was like, we like Prince, we know a Prince song we haven't played it in a while though...the band conferred.

She was a little nervous, better to fuck it up with love than not give it a go she said and they did a lovely hypntoic version of When Doves Cry. Yeah, some of the words/verses got mixed up, but the dead on delivery made up for that. Patti's version was well worth hearing.

From that they went straight into Lou Reed's Perfect Day, and oh how perfect it was.

Because the Night and People have the Power, and they left the stage, it was almost 2 hours. The majority of those on stage were 69/70.

Somewhere in there, they asked us to sing Happy Birthday to Iggy (Pop) for his 70th birthday. They turned their backs and a stage hand came out with a phone and taped us all...what a delight!!!!

Of course the crowd wanted more and after a few minutes of applause and shouting, the band came back out and launched into the most punk, kick arse version of My Generation you will ever hear. It was incredible, Patti on the guitar for the first time this evening, working on feedback and reverb, and breaking strings as she blasted her way through the song.

She held the guitar up and announced this is the only weapon you will ever need!

Indeed Patti, indeeed!!

They finished up with Rock and Roll Nigger, gracefully bowed and left the stage.

It was just over 2 hours worth of entertainment, front and centre.

And I was gone.

In a world where we don't have a lot of older female role models, Patti shines a light for us women wondering how we will fare in later years. There are no fucks given, she is herself and that's that. She is tender and caring, honest and still blazing trails. She believes in love and peace and goodness.

She was brilliant!!

So glad I didn't pass on this and headed down solo!

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