Tuesday night saw the return to Glasgow of the legend that is Patti Smith to perform her classic album, Horses, in its entirety to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Although I had been looking forward to the gig for quite a while I wasn't sure what to expect as last year we witnessed a piss poor performance by Television when they played Glasgow performing Marquee Moon in its entirety. Considering it is one of the best guitar albums of all time, someone forgot to turn up the volume on the guitars as you could hardly bloody hear them. So, with that in mind, we turned up at the gig in hopeful anticipation.
From the opening lines of Gloria all worries were dispelled. You could instantly tell this was going to be a pretty special night and it was. Almost impossible to pick out a highlight from the album on the night, but for the sheer emotional impact it would have to be Elegie, where she name checked many of those we have lost over the last few years including Fred 'Sonic' Smith, Johnny Thunders and Lou Reed. During Land/Horses the Concert Hall relaxed their usual rules about everyone staying in their seats, with about 100 or so fans making their way to the front of the hall for some impromptu dancing and the rest of the audience finally getting to their feet and staying there for the remainder of the gig. It was also really surprising, and wonderful to see, how many young people were in attendance, showing the relevance and importance that Patti Smith still has today. What could easily have been a nostalgia fest for some of us became a celebration of someone who attracted one of the most diverse audiences I have seen at a gig for along time.
After Horses we were treated to a terrific set that included Dancing Barefoot, People Have The Power Because The Night and a Velvets medley of Rock and Roll, Waiting For The Man and White Light White Heat, before ending the evening with a blistering, gloriously fierce version of My Generation, with Patti pulling all the strings off her guitar one by one to finish off what was a remarkable and exhilerating evening in the plush surroundings of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.
Considering Horses is 40 years old this year, it still sounded fresh and contemporary and the passion and commitment shown by the entire band on that stage would put many new bands to shame. Long may she continue to play live...