Review: Patti Smith live at Bowery Ballroom: G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S!

Posted by The G on January 1, 2012 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

I can’t think of a better way to close out 2011 and begin 2012 than by seeing the incomparable Patti Smith perform at New York’s Bowery Ballroom!  Patti Smith played her annual trio of sold-out New Year’s shows on December 29, 30 and 31 at Bowery Ballroom and I was fortunate enough to see the final show.  What can you say about Patti Smith other than the fact that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is worthy of every accolade she receives in the press – she’s an incredible performer.  Mixing poetry with punk and rockin’ for nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes, Patti Smith’s performance was in a word, G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S!

Patti, who turned 65 on December 30th 2011, was in a great mood as she told stories in between songs and urged the crowd to empower ourselves in these turbulent times.  She advised us to arm ourselves with knowledge and fight back against injustice because like her song says, “The People Have The Power!”  Just before the stroke of midnight, Patti Smith surprised the crowd with the announcement of a special guest star – former REM lead singer Michael Stipe. He poured champagne for the front row as the crowd enthusiastically rung in 2012 with the classic “Auld Lang Syne.”  He stayed for a special cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Linemen” (and a video will be coming soon – so please stay tuned!)

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti also played classics such as “Redondo Beach,” “Because The Night,” “Pissing in a River,” which she dedicated to the late Amy Winehouse and also played the theme song to “Around the World in 80 Days,” which she dedicated to Mike Todd, who was married to Elizabeth Taylor, who also passed away in 2011.  Covers of “Not Fade Away” and “The Last Time” were also played as well as her recently recorded cover of U2’s “Until The End of the World,” which found Patti getting really emotional (and in turn, there was not a dry eye in the house during the song).  The great evening ended with a rockin’ version of “Rock and Roll Nigger” and the crowd chanted the chorus “outside of society” in unison with Patti Smith and her amazing band.  Patti thanked the crowd for 14 years of New Year’s Eve shows in New York and mentioned that they will not be playing them next year at this time.  Where she’ll appear is anyone’s guess, so stay tuned!  Spotted in the crowd: Michael Stipe hanging out with actress Toni Collette and Atlas Sound’s lead singer Bradford Cox.

If you got nothing out of this review, please take this kernel of knowledge with you into 2012 and beyond – THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!

Thanks Patti!  You are a goddess!

See the setlist after the jump.

Patti Smith New Years Eve Setlist

Patti Smith New Years Eve Setlist at Bowery Ballroom on December 31, 2011.



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  • Michael said,

    An astonishing concert… brilliant performances, power, passion, strength, beauty, vulnerability, and so much more. One of the two or three best rock concerts in my 50 years + of concert going…