Patti Smith – 02 Apollo, Manchester

The Rolling Stones Manchester show in June was a pretty huge event, some guy was even trying to sell t-shirts outside of my work. When I took a taxi the first thing they thought was ‘yeah, Mick Jagger & co?’ but no, not that night. Not for me, never for me. That night it was all about Patti Patti Patti. Most nights are, let’s be honest.

It was in 2015 I saw Patti Smith and her band play last. They were touring in celebration of her debut album ‘Horses’ hitting middle age, and they played them all out beginning to end, even doing a vinyl flipping gesture to signify the half way point. It was incredible, of course. This time round there wasn’t any anniversary, nor was there any new material to play loud and live. It was just an excuse to for Patti Smith fans to gather, because the night. Why not? Billy Corgan wouldn’t approve.

She played the hits, and she played them well. Her voice still full of power, her dancing moves still better than yours, and those stories in between, of journalists, instagram, and sleeping in the clothes that she wore, they were genuine highlights of it all.

Any new Patti pieces came from covers, with The Rolling Stones ‘Paint It Black‘ making it onto the set list, of course. Even if she had to read the words to get it right, it was a fun aside.

Sticking to covers and the hits is quite often how long running bands play, but it was still a shame to see the chants of ‘Piss Factory‘ shot down. It was not a night for those punk rock hues, ‘Gloria‘ aside, because Gloria resides with the ones we know so well.

And then there was the band getting two songs to themselves, Patti taking a break to check through her insta, perhaps. This happened at the Horses tour too, acting as a break between the end of Horses to the encore of everything after. Around ten minutes of whatever rock playing out to who cares, that’s what it was then, that’s what it was here, that’s what it’ll always be. With Patti Smith it’s all about her, and the times she steps aside, the parts in which the band gets to wig out as she waits around, those are the moments that take you to the bar.

Everything Patti however, and there was about 95% Patti, was everything anyone could hope for, 71 and still rocking over the rest of them. Peace and noise.

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