Patti Smith.

28 Jan

Now that I’ve seen her, I don’t know what took me so long. Seriously. I had these jaded thoughts about her, which were seriously based on a lack of knowledge.

I’ve heard about Patti for years, and was intrigued recently after reading write ups about her new book, Just kids. I never knew she was coupled up with Robert Mapplethorpe and had no idea of the path she weaved among the greats in NYC back in the day. Vanessa Grigoriadis of New York Magazine and Rolling Stone fame has a great article/ interview, as an example.

Luckily for me, she was in Seattle this week reading from her new book. I was annoyed, as often happens, by the overzealous Seattle clapping crowd. I was interested, at first, by the interviewer and host, Charles Cross … famous Seattle music writer/editor who’s written books on Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendriz. But he instantly became an annoyance, inserting himself and Seattle in the opening remarks, when the night was about. Patti.

Seems silly in a way for me to speak with such reverence, after I’ve shunned her for years. But, bottom line … I was blown away by the readings she did (both poetry and from the new book), and also entranced by her acoustic performance. She played several tunes, including one powerful hit called beneath the southern cross, a farewell/ode to Mapplethorpe.

But the most powerful part of the night was her closing acappella version of “because the night,” co-authored by Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Bruce. Patti’s vocals are so powerful, it hits you at the core. The audience sang the chorus and I was crying at the end of the song.

Patti unleashed a loogie at the end of all that, a signature move that I was unfamiliar with. And I promptly ordered the book, Just Kids, and CDS Horses and Easter off Amazon.com. Get your copies now, seriously.

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