Saturday, June 25, 2005

Somebody's Sins

Saw Patti Smith tonight, performing on a bill with John Cale at the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank of the Thames. This was a concert Mary and I had been planning to go to for quite awhile--I woke up early to buy the ticket a month ago, and just barely got one as they sold out in hours. The big draw was that Patti was going to perform her original 1975 debut album Horses in its entirety.

Horses was not necessarily my favorite Patti album of all time--I quite like Easter best, I think--but as a symbol it's always been really important to a lot of people. The poetry that begins "Gloria" at the start of the album is just a lovely moment: "Jesus died, for somebody's sins, but not mine." It's not, of course, original to Horses, it was also on Patti's original single, "Piss Factory". And before that, it was supposedly the line she started many a poetry reading in the Village in the early seventies. Such a great line, and you never get tired of hearing it.

The concert began rather disapointingly. John Cale played a long drawn-out set all by himself for the first half; somehow, I had thought that Cale, who produced Horses, would just be playing along with Patti. Kind of a slow start.

The second half, however, swung into gear. Patti came out, the crowd went wild, Lenny Kaye (late of EMP fame) began playing the opening of "Gloria", and then... "Jesus, died, for somebody's sins but not mine." Ahh....

Good stuff.

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