babel-list reviews of 1/14/97 concert, kusei nenkin kaikan main hall, osaka, japan

[contributed by Yuriko Yoneyama]

I still can't believe that I got to see Patti live. Finally, my dream came true! She was so cool and I could feel her power.

The show began with "People Have The Power" and ended with "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger." In between, Patti and the band played songs from the new album, as well as some favorites, including: "Dancing Barefoot," "Free Money," "Because The Night," "Ghost Dance," and "Not Fade Away."

After she finished playing electric guitar on one song, she told the audience:" I haven't played electric guitar since 1979. Thanks for inspiring me, Osaka!" And thanks for inspiring us, Patti."

Copyright © Yuriko Yoneyama 1997

[contributed by Manao Fujiwara]

I have been waiting since 1980 to see Patti live - that's when I first heard her songs. I'm not very good at English, but her words impressed me so - even when translated into Japanese. Her voice brought me hope. It hardly needs to be said that the sounds created by the Patti Smith Group captured me.

Her show on January 14th began with "People Have The Power." Most of the audience stood up as soon as she began this powerful, hopeful number. Generally the performance was tight and cool. And audience seemed to enjoy it, to revel in it from the bottom of their hearts.

Only once did Patti display irritation. That happened as she talked about the recent oil spill in the Sea of Japan. (On January 2nd, a Russian oil tanker sank offshore. Oil leaked from the ship, spreading far from the site of the accident, damaging the coats of the Fukui, Ishikawa, Kyoto, and other prefectures.) Patti spoke about the sinking of the tanker, the oil spill, and how people were grappling with the damage. "Where did it happened? Where has the oil spread? What province?", Patti asked the crowd. But the reaction of audience was mainly to just yell out with excitement, calling out Patti's name. I think many Japanese fans couldn't understand what she was talking about - her English just wasn't easily translated by the crowd. The few small, shy voices that answered her questions: "It's Fukui," "It's spreading to Ishikawa Prefecture and others," seemed not to reach to her. She asked the same questions again and again. When she couldn't get an answer, she asked the audience "Where are the young in reacting to this accident?" She seemed to be irritated at what she perceived to be young people's indifference to the incident. Then she started to sing, ending her song with gestures of a sad old woman trying to clear away black oil covering her body. "Pure land, white mountain, blue ocean, (turned) black. Where are the young?"

I suspect Patti had seen a news program that interviewed an old Ama woman who expressed sadness and anxiety about the future. (Ama is a professional diving fisherwoman.) For this old woman, the pollution of ocean and coast is a vital problem, impacting her day-by-day life. But a lot of young people understand this, and have voluntarily begun to help remove the oil. So, Patti's words and irritation, "Where are the young?" seemed misplaced. I love Patti, but as a comrade, not as a teacher. She was wonderful live - and I hope she realizes she lights up the lives of her Japanese fans.

Copyright © Manao Fujiwara 1997

[contributed by Tatsuaki Fumiyama]

Although I don't remember tonight's set list exactly, I can say that it was almost the same as that of Patti's January 12th show in Tokyo.

There were some differences: After mentioning the Russian tanker incident, Patti and her band played "High On Rebellion" instead of "Wing." To my surprise, she played the electric guitar while singing this song. Or rather, she scratched at and and attacked it. After she finished the song, she said, "I played the electric guitar on stage for the first time since 1979. Thanks for inspiring me."

The last tune of the night was "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger". She left the stage while the band continued to play, and without saying good-bye. But the audience seemed to be very content with the concert.

Copyright © Tatsuaki Fumiyama 1997

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