Patti Smith

On the road with Bob Dylan

[Contents copyright (c) 1995 - Anthony Rzepela]
From:	MX%"" 17-DEC-1995 04:34:37.79
Subj:	Dylan/Patti at Electric Factory (show 2, Dec. 16, 1995)
Date:   Sun, 17 Dec 1995 03:06:01 EST
From:   "Anthony J. Rzepela" 

Patti's set tonight was about 41-42 minutes, and opened with
"My Generation". She announced Tom Verlaine by name, dedicated 
"Walkin' Blind" to her son Jackson, "Southern Cross" to Michael
Stipe, and "Ghost Dance" to her niece Simone. 

Unlike Friday, there was no "Because the Night" or "About a Boy"; 
"Southern Cross" wasn't in the first show, so she seems to be 
making a damn good effort to include as much material as possible 
in this engagement. At 2 shows, she's done 10 songs, and 
hopefully, that "land" that we got to hear only as a soundcheck 
from outside on Friday will fully materialize tomorrow.

The official list (I snagged one before it fell to 
the ground :) 

                 "My Generation"     (she still says "fucking shit", 
                                      but doesn't say "hope I die because of
                                      it", but rather "hope I live"....)
                 "Dancing Barefoot"
                 "Wicked Messenger"
                 "Ghost Dance"
                 "Walkin' Blind"
                 "Southern Cross"
                 "Rock and Roll Nigger"
                 "Not Fade Away"

Just some random comments: 

I am becoming increasingly impressed with her increasing lucidity during 
her 'babel' on  "Not Fade Away". It's still unique to each performance, 
but she had NO trouble finding the right words at the right time, 
and thus avoiding another one of those embarrassing gobbledygook 
runs.  Not only was she articulate, she was focused, as she started
off with a "warm, yellow river" and the leaf she used to clean herself,
and, for once, ended up painting a scenario which provoked thought, 
laughter, joy, doubt, and a whole host of things you don't usually 
get when she gets lost and can't recover. 

As this applies to "About a Boy", I'm guessing that the strong
backup of the full band relieves her of the pressures she may have
felt performing the song in her solo shows - only her first take
of it at the TLA made any sense when she got to the part about 
what the character "left behind", and, being my first audition of
the thing, it was difficult to digest.  With the full band, she 
concentrates on her own chores, and it is under
these circumstances that the depth of the song - the 
rich and powerful ambiguity of the syntax; the 
simultaneously incriminating and forgiving tone - stops being
an intellectual concept, and becomes a visceral part 
of the performance.  

Her opening segment for these Dylan shows, as short as it is, 
is a powerful one. The band is spectacular, she is in fine form, 
and the whole environment she's got going here is just not going to 
be repeated again. The future may hold bigger and better, but when 
the whole lot is tearing through something, even as quiet as "Walkin' 
Blind", you're just in a moment - there's no other way to describe it. 

I'm SURE that the future will bring us not only more of her 
unfolding scheme for a return, but a return littered 
with glib and oversimplified "analyses" of 
what exactly she means when she sings "My Generation" now
(fucking Baby Boomers - they take a shit and think we're
supposed to get all excited when they tell us how they feel
about said shit) - and the possibilities for what she 
could possibly be thinking by resuscitating
it ran through my mind.   I mean, NO ONE looks more 
like a housewife from Jersey than Patti in her tattered sweater 
trying not to outshine Dylan, but in the same space, in
the same outfit, she played "My Generation", whatever her
goals, without a false note.  

(I'm rambling. I'll stop now.)

Tonight's sweet moment: Dylan used her FULL name ("Patti Smith", 
not just "Patti") for the intro and kept clapping for her after the 
lights were turned off. 

SM2: Patti trying to keep her stage gestures to herself during "Dark Eyes".

SM3: Tonight's reaction to her set was the strongest of the 3 I've 
     seen.  Still, the steady and loud chant of "Pat-ti!" wasn't enough 
     to break the rules. :( 
* Celebrities: I saw "Sheryl Crow" again tonight - she was "just" 
               a waitress. And I think my sighting of "Dave Grohl"
               was just Michael Stipe in disguise.

* Dylan fans:  Have they always been such assholes, or is this just 
               a recent development, since Garcia died and Deadheads 
               have no place else to twirl? Say what you will, I've NEVER, 
               until now, seen a character try and worm his way into 
               a blind girl's standing spot by pushing her slowly to the side.
               And keep any "one bad apple" comments to yourself -- 
               You can't get close to the stage at Electric Factory 
               for these shows without an unreasonable waiting time, thanks
               to what I've deemed, after two days' experience, the "Bobfia":
               four people "holding spots" for a dozen more, who go 
               off for several hours to nap, shop, or whatever, inflating
               minimum-required-line-time for first coupla rows to about 
               3.5 solid hours for everyone else, and even then with 
               nothing close to guaranteed success. And don't - DON'T - 
               get me started on the morons in the anti-Patti brigade. 
Tony Rzepela <rzepela@XXX.XXXXXXXXX.XXX>
         "My show is spontaneous. You know how I know? Usually I spit
         over there, but tonight I spit right here."   - Madonna, 1990

Copyright © Anthony J. Rzepela 1995

back to babelogue

Tony's Patti clippings Home point for Tony's Patti clippings.

Tony's Patti reviews Home point for Tony's Patti reviews.