Saturday, 11 August 2012

Quick review: Patti Smith

I had waited for this gig for oh so long. When the day finally arrived I was not sure I was ready to really appreciate the enormousness of seeing Patti Smith perform live in front of my eyes.

We had gone through the trouble of reserving seats at Tempodrom, we made sure to be early, heck, we even bought a t-shirt. This was fandom unlike us. But this is because this woman has been so inspiring over the years, has shown so many women the way, has stuck to her ideals and roots unlike many other musicians.

And it was that kind of performance, too. There was no stage design as such, just her, her band (whom she has been with since way into the last century) and a cup of tea to sooth an aching throat. She looked wild with her straggly hair and her pirate-inspired clothes. They played all the hits, she corresponded with the audience and near the end she gave her famous freedom speech. All that you expected but better.

This was one of the few shows that I have been to where the majority of attendees was female and many were over 60. During the rockier anthems women would get up from their seats and start dancing wildly, the grey hair flowing, fists raised into the air. It was so inspiring. I have taken away from this to be more myself, true to myself, stick to my ideals best as I can.

As an afternote: I watched A Man Within, a documentary about the personal life of William S. Burroughs, this week and Patti Smith plays a large part in this. It shows her with Burroughs in the 70s and the way she sang for him, how he admired her and edged her on. It says a lot about Patti Smith, as much as it does about Burroughs.

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