The night belongs to Patti Smith

Rockhal welcomed one of the most iconic singer songwriter, poet & artists of her generation in Patti Smith on Saturday night, as she celebrated the 40th anniversary of her seminal debut album “Horses”.

Affectionately known as the godmother of punk, Smith’s iconic debut album has sat upon the shelves of generations of punks, writers, rockers & artists, she is the artist for the artists and as influential as they come, with “Horses” turning 40 it was only fitting to present it in all its glory and tour the album in full.

Earlier in the day Smith joined in the celebration of another anniversary, the 10th birthday party of the MUDAM where she was introduced to the Duke, along with Mr Bettel as she performed an intimate 15-minute performance in the foyer.

At night however she was joined by her band and ready to rock out as they launched into “Gloria” with Smith still as energetic as ever, stirring the intense emotions of grief, love loss and longing like it was 1975 all over again, she has lost none of the attitude that set her apart even then.

It’s quite special to see such an album performed from start to finish with still so much guile and vigour with Smith’s vocals coming across rich and powerful, even when she had her beat poet moment on “Birdsong” her spirit still drove the song with her effortless cool.

The punk attitude is still there in abundance, as visible on “Land” as the momentum built slowly you could see the music still flows through her veins as she shouted “C’mon f*****s” then spat on the stage before jumping around, whipping her jacket off getting the crowd going in the process, the godmother of punk isn’t going away quietly, just how we want it. Earlier in the day Smith talked of how you should “never lose your love for life, never slow down”, it’s good to see she heeds her own advice.

With an artist of such distinction comes much adulation and when an audience member cried out “I love you Patti” she stopped looked over in the direction of the cry and with the driest of wits just spoke out “get in line” which drew laughter from all in the Rockhal.

She finished “Horses” on the poignant “Elegie” which was written as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix but she turned it into a moment for everyone who has ever lost someone close to them and then proceeded to do a depressing roll call of musicians we’ve lost over the years from Janis Joplin to the Ramones, Ornette Coleman, Amy Winehouse, Lou Reed, David Bowie & Prince.

With “Horses” finished they took on some covers as Smith left the stage for a while allowing the band to take their moment in the spotlight doing a Velvet Underground medley before Smith returned to the Prince song “When Doves Cry”.

Smith began to talk of her trip to the MUDAM once more and how it’s a wonderful space for reflection, she was full of admiration of the gallery so dedicated “Because the Night” to it.

It’s heart-warming to see the love for “Horses” 40 years on from its release, I’m convinced if this record was released today it would still sound fresh and exciting, which just shows how ahead of her time she was.

2.07.16 – Rockhal

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