Patti Smith (PFA #24)
performed in Sacramento last night for the first time. It was overwhelming. A kind of who's who event. Or who's NOT
who, as Tuli Kupferberg (PFA #57, 290)
likes to say (1)
. While the poetry scene's venerable, aged and infirm opted for the few stools and tall tables in the back, Kevin Porter
, J. Greenberg
and I pushed forward, close to the stage. Initally dubious of the venue, the trendy new Empire at 15th & R, our concerns faded after we'd grabbed beers and stood within touching distance of the stage. While it may be true that Players only love you when they're playing (2)
, I was a willfull victim under Patti's spell. She was enchanting; a warm, spirited presence on stage; particularly during Summer Cannibals
making the motions of the women who moved forward like piranhas in a stream / they spread themselves before me.
The excited audience, we, yelling back the chorus, mimicking her pronunciation of the first "eat!" as Eight
: Eight!Eat! Eat!" She acknowledged H.P. Lovecraft's
birthday ("all I can tell you is he drank more coffee than I do...
") and as his face appeared on the screen behind the band, an orgy of psychedellic colors pulsing around and within his head, they performed Space Monkey.
[Pierre Clementi, snot full o' cocaine
] The set ended with the high energy People have the Power
, a profound political rallying anthem if there ever was one, during which scenes from the WTO protests in Seattle, 1999 flashed across the screen. Images of riot-gear-clad stormtrooper's lashing out at protestors, spraying them with pepper spray, lobbing tear gas (and yanking off protestors' gas masks) was an excellent juxtapostion to the song. The show ended with Gloria
as the encore (Can you say audience participation
?), performed with as much energy and enthusiasm as if it were the evening's first song. Patti and the band gave Sacramento everything (except her socks). They bled for us. And I love them for it. (3)
(1) We hung out in line with Gene Bloom (PFAs # 138, 139, 241-43), Barbara Noble, (PFAs #170-71), Frank Andrick (PFAs #207, 402-03 and Starr; Waved to Annie Menebroker (PFAs #146-47), Linda Thorell, and B.L. Kenn_edy (PFAs #283, 302); tried to avoid eye contact with Kimi Julian (PFA #284); chatted with Kimberly White (PFAs #244-45) about the outstanding reading by Julia Vinograd at Kimberly's series on Tuesday (8/17). Spotted Ruth Ellis upstairs in the exclusive Red Room.
(2) In Dante's updated circles of hell, there is a special dark space reserved for those who use Fleetwood Mac lyrics to make any kind of point.
(3) While it occured to Alicia Dienst to swipe the playlist from the vacated stage, it didn't occur to me. But some of the songs played included: Summer Cannibals, 1959, Beneath the Southern Cross, Glitter in their eyes, Paths that cross, Redondo Beach, Because the Night, Dancing barefoot, So You Wanna Be (A Rock 'N' Roll Star), and Gloria.