Sunday, 28 March 2010

Patti Smith at The Sage - review by Terry Kelly

Patti Smith
The Sage Gateshead

26 March 2010
By Terry Kelly

PUNK poet Patti Smith played a blinder for her adoring Tyneside fans.

A packed crowd at the venue's more intimate Hall Two rose to its feet as Smith screamed out a full-throated version of Gloria at the close of an often moving two-hour gig.

Combining songs and readings from her new autobiography, Just Kids, about her life with famed photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith proved a memorable performer, decades since punk's heyday.

And despite being often crudely dubbed 'the Godmother of Punk,' 63-year-old Smith is in fact a much more various artist than that.

Close your eyes and she can sound like a very fine folk or ballad singer, whose voice is as good as when she released iconic albums like Horses, Radio Ethiopia and Easter in the 1970s.

Backed by talented guitarist and pianist Tony Shanahan, Smith moved easily between affectionate anecdotes about Mapplethorpe, her mother, early days starving and scuffling for a living in New York and Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, to bring-the-house-down versions of Dancing Barefoot and Because the Night.

All in all, a memorable night from a stunning performer.

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