remnants: Patti Smith: Horses 40th At the Beacon Theater, 2015

and I will travel light.

remnants: Patti Smith: Horses 40th At the Beacon Theater, 2015

November 10, 2015: After writing about Patti’s New York, Patti playing “Horses” in Paris, and Patti’s best NYC gigs (coming soon: Patti Smith pre-Horses, later this week) I allowed last night to be the experience of just watching the gig, which is rare for me.

Paris was about ecstasy, but New York was about triumph. Everyone was there last night, Jackson and Jesse, a room full of poets (I saw John Giorno and Anne Waldman, who was close enough to have caught a rose thrown from the stage).

NYC was celebratory. It was about accomplishment, achievement, and surviving. Last night, before “Elegie,” she mentioned how that when she sat next to Allan Lanier to write the song all those years ago, she never imagined that in the future she’d be dedicating it to him.

NYC was also about doing the work. Patti is very much about reminding us that we have to DO the fucking work. That wasn’t one of the themes explicitly mentioned last night, but she invoked it by just doing it. Case in point: she was clearly not satisfied by the lack of audience response during “Land.” So she went into pretty much a full-on reprise of “Gloria” at the end–after all of “Land”–until the audience were on their feet from top to bottom. Only then did she allow the song to come to an end. (Footnote on that below)

It was a celebration of the musicians: at the end of the Lenny/Tony solo set, when she came back onstage in the middle of “White Light/White Heat,” danced to the center mic, and announced “MY BAND!” with a huge smile as the song came to a close.

The last memorable moment was a big one: in the middle of flying feedback, Fender stripped of strings, hair covering her face in a cascade of brilliant, glowing white–she stepped to the mic and declared, “The songs on Horses were created here in New York City by a young girl who still lives in my heart.”

And we all died, just a little bit. p.s. The last song before the band came on was “Vertigo” and before you get all snot nosed about that it was a nod to U2 for using “People Have The Power” as their walk-on music all tour. I thought it was hilarious and awesome.

FOOTNOTE: I love that musicians who dig NYC want to have their big celebratory gigs at the Beacon. I get that it’s the last place left to do that. But the proscenium places the band very far from the audience; if you’re a musician at the lip of that stage, the balcony is not seeing you. The Beacon security thankfully did not police people standing up, but the audience did. It definitely impacted the energy of the night, which was unfortunate. I don’t have a good answer to this.