setlist & review for 10/28/97 concert, cbgb's, nyc

[contributed by Mitch Gart]

Rock N Roll Nigger
Gone Again
Pale Blue Eyes
Whirl Away
Southern Cross
So Lonesome I Could Cry
Ghost Dance
Wicked Messenger
Don't Say Nothing
Waiting Underground
Summer Cannibals
Dancing Barefoot
Book of Rules (?)
Last Call
Dead City
Sata A Masagana (song by Abyssinians)
People Have The Power

All that in one evening. Where does that woman get her energy? I've never heard her voice stronger. When it sounded like she was giving it everything, she'd manage to turn it up another decibel or two.

Best moments: it's hard to choose, but "Pale Blue Eyes" followed by an incredible "Spell" that's twice as strong as the album version. Those two left me with goosebumps on top of my goosebumps.

Songs: all the new ones are real strong and tight, they sound like the band has been doing them for years. Every new one is real good live. I guess "Don't Say Nothing" is a close second to "Spell," for me, as the strongest new one in live version. Patti did blow the words badly to 2 songs--"Wing" and "So Lonesome"--but that left 22 others where everything was just about perfect. Several songs had space walks where patti starts out one place and just lets the spirit move her somewhere else.

Oh, and "Horses/Gloria," for oldies fans, had quite a new storyline. First Ms. P. rambled for a long time, then went into the story about Johnny for a long time, with lots of new details like how Johnny couldn't think of the combination to his locker and how the boy kept asking him "What-ch-ya got." Then the boy gets Johnny. Then Johnny goes home, and phones Gloria, and sees her answer the phone through her window, and for a while it sounds like he's going to rape her but instead he just goes over to see her.

Moods: happy to be home, friendly, aggravated with a fan who was shining a red light, funny (hipster and pie joke, "they shot her" joke), tired, angry at the media and radio stations, disappointed with record sales.

Band: JD and Tony have become an absolutely first-rate rhythm section. Lenny is great. Patti brought out her clarinet for 2 songs, and her acoustic guitar on 2 or 3 others, and did much better on clarinet in my opinion. Her clarinet on "Abysinnians" set a wonderful space-jazz-Middle East mood and contrasted well with the reggae that the rest of the band was playing. On "Waiting Underground", JD moved to bass and Tony played piano. Throughout the evening, Lenny and Oliver kept switching between electric and acoustic guitars. Everyone focuses on Ms. P in a Patti Smith Group concert but in my opinion her band is fabulous too.

Fans: older and grayer, not too bad about pushing but bad about smoking in an already breathing-challenged atmosphere. Fans were packed to the rafters, literally, up on the light area and standing on the bar and everywhere else. I got to see lots of babelistas but am sad to hear I missed meeting JBolt!

happy & tired, amidst peace & noise


Copyright © Mitch Gart 1997

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