Patti Smith Plays With Power and Passion On Final Australia Tour REVIEW -
Patti Smith performs Horses at Hamer Hall in Melbourne on Sunday 16 April 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Patti Smith performs Horses at Hamer Hall in Melbourne.

Patti Smith Plays With Power and Passion On Final Australia Tour REVIEW

by Paul Cashmere on April 18, 2017

in News

The lyrics, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”, are the first words sung at Patti Smith’s final Australia shows over Easter. Patti Smith live was easily the most anticipated concert of the Bluesfest touring season in Australia for 2017 and it lived up to expectations.

At 70 years of age Patti Smith is making her final Australian tour. “Some folks are 70 years old. So I am Mutherfuckers,” Patti yelled as her final words to tonight’s crowd.

Patti Smith’s final tour focuses on where it all began, her debut ‘Horses’ from 1975. In its day, ‘Horses’ never captured the attention of the world. In the US it peaked at no 47. It Australia it went relatively ignored, peaking at an invisible no. 80.

Like so many punk recordings of the time, the importance of the historical recording was recognised for some decades later.

Patti’s contemporaries were Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, The Ramones. Like those around her she creatively fed off the teat of punk and what soon became known as new wave.

‘Horses’ was her introduction to the world. In the USA it is now preserved by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The album played like a storyboard and live in concert Patti filled in the storylines between the songs including the explanation of ‘Elegie’ written about the death of Jimi Hendrix but now relevant to all who have passed since. Her 2017 performance of the song updates the roll-call to include David Bowie, Prince, Amy Winehouse and her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith.

She would later pay tribute to Winehouse with her 2012 song ‘This Is The Girl’ and reinvent Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ Smith-style to make it sound her own.

She also explained that her 1978 classic ‘Because The Night’, written with Bruce Springsteen, was about her then boyfriend Fred Smith, who died in 1994.

‘People Have The Power’ was dedicated to the audience.

The band with Patti is Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty from the original album with Tony Shanahan and Andy York.

Patti Smith live was the most potent concert to come to Australia in years. It was emotional, it was raw, it was dramatic, it was passionate, it was personal. Patti Smith is about to stop touring and there is no-one to take her place.

Patti Smith live in Melbourne 17 April 2017

Gloria (from Horses, 1975)
Redondo Beach (from Horses, 1975)
Birdland (from Horses, 1975)
Free Money (from Horses, 1975)
Kimberly (from Horses, 1975)
Break It Up (from Horses, 1975)
Land/Gloria (from Horses, 1975)
Elegie (from Horses, 1975)
Dancing Barefoot (from Wave, 1979)
This Is The Girl, from Banga, 2012)
When Doves Cry (Prince cover)
Ghost Dance (from Easter, 1978)
Because The Night (from Easter, 1978)
People Have The Power (from Dream Of A Life, 1988)

My Generation (The Who cover)

Patti Smith remaining dates

18 April, Melbourne, State Theatre (final performance of Horses)
20 April, Melbourne, Festival Hall (with Courtney Barnett)

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