review by happycat.brian

The legendary punk rock goddess Patti Smith performed a free show at the Santa Monica Pier on Thursday evening, closing out the 25th annual Twilight Dance Series.  This was her second appearance on the beloved pier – she also played mid summer during the 2007 Twilight Dance Series. She was joined by a wonderful band of musicians that included Lenny Kaye on guitar and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass.

Patti and her band were amazing, and wowed the crowd with originals like “Walking Barefoot”, “Pissing in a River”, “Because the Night” (which she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen back in the 70’s, and probably her biggest hit) and “People Have The Power”.  She also played lots of great covers – many of which she is well known for, like Van Morrison’s “Gloria” – to which she adds her signature with the line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins… but not mine…” ; a rollicking version of The Byrd’s “So You Wanna Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”,  and a great encore familiar to most of you here at Deadheadland, Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”.

Patty is a punk and a rock and roll and poet and folk and jazz and beat and hippie and mother and goddess and street and  smart and sweet and nurturing all rolled into one package – a powerful artist in every way.  She is also very funny!  She did an improve song about flying from Paris to L.A. and not having booked a room, and being picked up at the airport, and spilling coffee on herself in Venice and…. I hope someone caught this and adds it to YouTube because she was fuckin’ hilarious!  

She also offered up pearls of wisdom like: I have ups and I have downs, and I wouldn’t have it any other fuckin’ way.  How can you tell if your up if you have never been fuckin’ down?

I first saw Patti when I was 17, in 1979,  at the Hollywood Palladium.  At the time she did a punk rock Jimi Hendrix amplifier feedback jam that went on for 45 minutes, damaged my eardrums (ok, The Who and The Ramones had already given me tinnitus!) and changed my life – I was blown away by her commitment to Rock ‘n’ Roll!  Similar to her friend Bruce Springsteen, and to all the rockers she tributes, she is part of this ministry of music.  She was the priestess last night in Santa Monica, with a full harvest moon in the sky behind her, and her services helped us all be grateful and feel better.  Thank you Patti!

Despite her punk rock roots, Patti does have an affinity for Grateful Dead.  She has been known to do Black Peter (anyone have a clip?) and has also been onstage as a guest performing with Robert Hunter (we need a recording of this, anyone?).  She has also wrote about her feelings during Jerry Week a couple years ago… :

This is the day Jerry Garcia died.  He was born on the first of August and passed away on the ninth, so it’s nice to think of that span as Jerry week. It certainly seems that he well deserves a 9 day week. So it’s winding to a close. I lit him a candle, listened to him singing Palm Sunday, and looked at his paintings in a big Jerry book……It’s the day the United States dropped an Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki. It’s the day Hermann Hesse died. The day Jerry died. I have returned to the city. Children are racing up and down my street. We humans keep in mind. That’s what we do. Tonight is a full moon. Guess when it sets, I will get me a cup of black coffee, sit on the stoop, and contemplate the bombing of Qana, the miracle of love and Dark Star.”

(in fact she has been credited with originating the term “Jerry Week” – read her full email posting here: Hotel Chelsea Blog )

Grateful for this show!  Looking forward to next years Twilight Dances, and I hope I get to rock with Patti Smith many more times!!!

IF you are not already familiar with Patti, she has her own Amazon shop with all her CD’s DVD’s and Books. Patti Smith Store by Amazon

By the way – did you know she was 62 years old?  You are never too old to rock ‘n’ roll!  Long Live Rockers like Patti Smith!!!