A week ago today I was watching Patti Smith perform at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank.

Looking exactly like she did 31 years ago on the cover of “Horses” she was mesmerising. The pick-up band included her regular bassist /pianist , a guitarist and a cellist. The first set featured  three new songs, Patti’s reaction to the state of the world and the upheaval in the Middle East, all played before a backdrop of film of the World Trade Centre during and immediately after the 9/11 attacks. It was brilliant to hear that there is someone is still writing real protest songs.. She hasn’t lost any of her anger, but now the songs come out of her reactions as a mother, drawing parallels between young people in Palestine and her own children.    http://www.pattismith.net/news.html        

Saddest  of all was her tribute to her late husband Fred”Sonic”Smith who died in 1994 and would have been 58 last Thursday. The live recording can be heard here  http://www.pattismith.net/souvenance.html

The second half was a reading of her prose-poem tribute to her former lover Rober Mapplethorpe. Agonising, emotional and draining it was accompanied by a sound sculpture by Kevin Shields of “My Bloody Valentine”. I have to say that my simplistic soul wondered “were 6 guitars really necessary for a recreation of wave sounds?” 

Both Monday and Tuesday night’s performances were being recorded for release at a later date.