Patti Smith - Troxy, London 13/09/12
"It's been too long," states Patti Smith as she walks onto the London Troxy stage.
Tonight sees the 65-year-old Godmother of punk back in the capital and it is something so special, this audience cannot contain its excitement.
Her band begins with a slightly extended version of 'Barefoot'. After this opener her voice shows that despite her age not only has she still got it, but those vocals may actually be getting stronger. For just over two hours she holds everyone captivated, crouching, dancing and singing. On two occasions she spits, nearly hitting our photographer with the first sizeable effort.
The old blends in with the new and 'April Fool' gets the band and the audience into full swing as we are given two hours of nonstop music spanning Patti's eleven album career. A brief interlude happens midway through the set where she walks off to leave her band to play two numbers. Guitar player Lenny talks the lead here. After, Patti comes back to sing her tribute to Amy Winehouse. It's fitting as it would have been her birthday the day after the concert, but the song lacks something.
'Because The Night' is expectedly sublime though, and the set ends with a raucous rendition of 'Gloria', with the crowd belting every word and raising to their feet on the balconies.
She begins the encore with Banga and proclaims that it "only has one chord which everyone can play." Howls and barks are encouraged for everyone in the building during this one.
'People Have the Power' and 'Rock N Roll Nigger' finish the evening, and people are reminded of the brilliance of 'Gloria' moments earlier, as Smith cannot resist another mention of that famous line, "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine..."
She talks about her love of churches and how she has visited some on this tour. The one thing good about religion she says is, prayer. It doesn't matter how you do it, and this congregation agrees.
A roadie may run about frantically looking after her microphone stand as it wobs and falls on several occasions, and a band member may help her replace the mic, but she'll be back as she tells us it is an ambition "to play every venue in London before turning 100. Except Wimbledon." Let's hope she does it.