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Posted on 09 November 2005 by Caryn Rose (0)

Patti Smith
Tower Records in the Village
8 November 2005


“Why an in-store, Patti?” our birthday girl began the evening. Not that this was her birthday, but I was treating this as a celebration for the record, and for the accomplishment. And from Patti’s demeanor and mood, I am sure she was too. It was truly lovely, there is no other or better word to describe the mood. She enjoyed every second of it, was joyful and voluble, snapping black and white Polaroids of the crowd and the band, sharing anecdotes with the audience (even stupid ass questions, and there were many, were entertained).

The most heart-stopping ones, for me, was when she related about living in the Chelsea Hotel and hearing Janis Joplin rehearsing the songs that ended up on Pearl and now Horses is on Sony’s Legacy label, just like Pearl is. Or the semi-infamous story about meeting Jimi Hendrix as he left the opening party for his Electric Lady Studios and how she carried that with her when they went in to record Horses (and, sure, the stories about John Cale banging his head against the wall, repeatedly, during the sessions were way fun too).

The band was acoustic, Lenny and Jay Dee and Tony Shanahan, and the songs were, well, the songs. “Free Money” and “Kimberley” and “Gloria” and I know I am missing some but I didn’t want to be a fucking documentarian tonight. It was a celebration of the work and the fact that we are all still here on this planet, alive and going strong, and a tribute to those who are no longer.

I was talking with some friends on Sunday about how I keep seeing ghosts, or being haunted by them. And not real ghosts, mind you, I keep having heavy deja vu — a recent trip to Maxwell’s brought back avalanches of memories of my 80s years there, someone mentioning Luchow’s on Law And Order snapped into my brain that old 14th Street vista, getting off the Lexington Avenue line at Union Square and the Palladium marquee and mural looming before me. (Parallel that with this afternoon, waiting in front of Tower Records, and not being able to get my bearings because I look down 4th Street and the fucking Bottom Line is not there and so the street doesn’t look right and I decide that I have it all wrong and what I am looking for is one block up…)

So now, tonight, Horses 30 years on, recorded a stone’s throw away, CBGB’s three minutes in the other direction, all the landmarks of that time (or their ghosts, anyway) all around us. And the fact that this record was pivotal in bringing me to this city, in ensuring I had no other destination for my future, in liberating me from fate and hurling me towards destiny.


this may be marketing hype, but it is hardly an overstatement.

So this is about all I want to say. While I hate bloggers that don’t write about a show, just upload photos, I am saving all my Horses insight for the BAM show on the 30th.

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