Considering the wide range of demographics at Patti Smith’s Monday night show at The Moore, it wasn’t a surprise that there were a few souls who really did not care to get up and rock out. Not only did one gentleman make known his displeasure of having his view blocked, but the unhappy want-to-dancer even yelled to Patti that people around them wouldn’t let them dance.
Patti’s response? “As long as you don’t hurt your brothers and sisters, you can do whatever the fuck you want.” And so went the rest of the show, with ushers having to clear the aisles of dancing, arm-thrusting fans rocking out with total glee and worshiping at the shrine of the High Priestess of Punk.
At 68, Smith has lost none of her commanding presence. She took the stage to a rapturous welcome and waved happily to all sections of the theater, before starting the show with “Dancing Barefoot.”
The two-hour show spanned her lengthy career, everything from her seminal 1975 debut Horses (“Redondo Beach”) to the title track of her most recent release, 2012’s Banga. A few covers were sprinkled throughout the show as well, including John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” and a stripped-down, intense version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” dedicated to the Bread of Life Mission.
Long-time cohorts, guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty remain part of her band, along with bassist Tony Shanahan and Jack Petruzzelli. The singer left the stage to join the crowd to watch the band tear through a cover of Love’s “My Little Red Book,” with an addendum of the same band’s song “7 and 7 Is.”
Smith told tales throughout the show, starting with anecdotes about her younger days – when she was young, and taller and skinnier than anyone in her family, she thought she had been deposited on the planet by aliens, and waited for them to come back to retrieve her. She spoke of her courtship with Fred “Sonic” Smith in 1976, leading into “25th Floor,” how waiting for his weekly long-distance call had led her to add lyrics to Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night,” and of how becoming a grandmother had turned her hair completely gray.
As the show progressed, her stories turned into incantations, exhorting the crowd to chant, to embrace their freedom, to embrace the now, to continue to speak out, culminating in the encore with an electric “People Have the Power” and “Rock N Roll Nigger.”
Her iconic alto voice has retained all of its power over the years, and the band provided all the oomph needed to show that aging doesn’t mean losing the ability to rock the eff out and command an audience.
1. Dancing Barefoot
2. Redondo Beach
3. Distant Fingers
4. Pumping (My Heart)
5. This Is the Girl
6. Beautiful Boy
7. 25th Floor
8. My Little Red Book / 7 and 7 Is
9. Ain’t It Strange
10. Smells Like Teen Spirit
11. Pissing In a River
12. Because the Night
15. People Have the Power
16. Rock N Roll Nigger