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happy birthday, patti lee

Posted on 31 December 2008 by Caryn Rose (0)

IMG_0025I was going to go all three nights, this year, finally, after being here for four years and only seeing one show per year, but stupidity + TEH WORLD deciding to go see her this year meant that I ended up with The Birthday and tomorrow night only.

Tonight, however, could have been enough.

It wasn’t the transcendence of “We Three” (a song I just found out the backstory on, after all these years) or the exuberance of “Till Victory,” but – of all things – “Ain’t It Strange”.

“Ain’t It Strange,” not a song I would have thought would have lasted all this time, would have resonated true emotionally, would have been full of the sensuality and Dance-Of-The-Seven-Veils-esq it exudes. There was heat and musk and mystery onstage tonight, Patti going to Lenny and connecting with him and the guitar – it wasn’t just Patti emoting on this number. It was true and raw and honest and even more true and raw and honest today in a way then it was back in the day. Less dangerous, perhaps, but oh so achingly valid.

Patti and her dates: it was also Bo Diddley’s birthday, which is why we got “Not Fade Away”:

patti smith’s 62nd birthday from caryn rose on Vimeo.

After a run of years where these shows didn’t sell out, this year they only planned two – just to have them promptly sell out and justify the reinstatement of the third date. I ran in at 9pm and it was already packed, surprisingly. The crowd, however, was odd as heck – way more drunken PATTI BLURGLE BLURGLE BLURGLE than I’ve seen in years, finally prompting Herself to inform them that “Bon Jovi’s playing down the street – I hear he puts on a great show” (the 16 year old behind me to her dad: “Really???” Him: “No.”)

However, the stupidest blather of the night was the young woman who made a request for “some punk rock.”
A pause. Patti considers whether or not the request was serious, and then realizes that even if it wasn’t, it was the stupidest thing uttered that night.
“Punk rock?” *hands on hips* “Do you *know* who I am?”

And finally, bringing up the end, the song that is in my opinion the greatest Motown song ever, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” in honor of the D and her children, Detroit natives. (There’s something charming in the brother-sister bickering onstage, but it’s distracting if you realize who they are and are close enough to observe exactly what was going on.)

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