Patti Smith is a living legend, and I came to love her art—as I suspect a good number in attendance of her December 29th Brooklyn Steels show did—through her writing, specifically, her much lauded memoir, Just Kids. The book chronicled her life with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in NYC in the later half of the 60s and early 70s as they both became generational talents we know them as today.
While these years were portrayed as hard scrabble in the book, it’s less of a Down & Out at the Chelsea Hotel and more of a celebration of the underground arts scene during that era. Just Kids brought Patti Smith to the attention of a new generation, which was clear by the audience made up of equal parts NY punk rock and hippie stalwarts who were there, man, and younger music fans who seemed every bit as excited.
Back to Smith being a living legend. That appellation might suggest, as I’ve had the experience with other mainstay acts from the 70s, that an artists best days are behind them. This was not the case at Smith’s show. She and her band played in perfect synchronicity, and the performance fell vital and invigorating. Smith opened the show with hits including “Dancing Barefoot,” “Redondo Beach,” and “Because The Night” and the set included a stirring cover of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings.” Even though the two night stand was billed as a celebration of Smith’s 76th birthday, she exuded a youthful energy, her voice strong and exhuberant. It’s clear that Smith is not resting on her laurels, and seems to have no plans to slow down any time soon.
Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)
Setlist: Dancing Barefoot, Redondo Beach, Free Money, Ghost Dance, Because The Night, My Blakean Year, Nine, Pissing In A River | Band Interlude without PS- Time Won’t Let Me, If I Could Turn Back Time, Time Is On My Side | One Too Many Mornings, Peaceable Kingdom/People Have The Power, Summer Cannibals, Ain’t It Strange, Time Has Come Today, People Have The Power Encore: Happy Birthday to You, Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)