Patti Smith put her spell on the Millenium Centre last night with a show that proved why she remains one of rock and roll’s most distinctive voices.

Joined on stage by long-time collaborators Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan, Smith gave a mesmeric performance featuring some of her best-known songs, such as ‘Gloria’ and ‘Because the Night’.

She was a joy to behold – at 71 she has more energy than performers half her age, prowling the stage with shamanic intensity. During ‘Gloria’ she called the audience to stand and sing along, declaring that she was ‘seventy f****** one’. The audience duly obliged. At one point Smith even left Kaye and Shanahan to perform alone on stage while she danced around the aisles, taking photos with members of the crowd. Between songs she was also great company, telling great stories about how the inspirations behind her work.

The encore was thoroughly deserved and included a beautifully gentle version of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ which this writer won’t be forgetting anytime soon. By the time Smith sang set closer ‘Power to the People’ the audience had already been on their feet several times during the show. The standing ovation that followed was surely the loudest noise heard at the Festival of Voice so far, and rightly so, because the night belonged to Patti Smith.

 

Words Joshua Rees