Patti Smith walked up the beautiful little stage at the bottom of the amphitheater, situated in the middle of a park surrounded by water. An idyllic setting to see this lady perform. The crowd cheered at the sight of her smile, often hidden behind her long grey hair. The song Wing started playing and the crowd started swaying, each and every individual present had his eyes fixed on the mesmerizing creature on stage.
Hearing the first notes of the second song, me and my friends took off our shoes. We danced barefoot to Dancing Barefoot, digging our feet into the dirty ground and screaming out our lungs. We stayed like that until Smith began a speech about how mothers everywhere lose their children to our world. The weight of the silence that fell upon the crowd was indescribable as Smith sang Mothers of the Disappeared, which is a U2 cover.
Smith searched for her book next to her cup on the stage, but she had to disappoint us as she must have forgotten it. Whilst she’s telling us about the poem she wanted to read us another copy of the book was brought on stage. Smith opened it to recite a poem of Andrei Tarkovsky, a Russian filmmaker who inspired her when she traveled through Russia. The track is a response to the film Ivan’s Childhood, the lyrics could be seen as transcriptions of Tarkovsky’s film although Smith’s words are very dreamy. The horrors of war became clear in a verse Smith repeated as if it were a mantra. “The boy, the beast and the butterfly.” The poem flowed over into a song she dedicated to Tarkovsky.
In between songs Smith tells us stories and wisdom about her life and the world. She opens up conversations with the crowd, replying when someone shouts something political and cracks a joke from time to time. I couldn’t be more surprised by Patti Smith’s presence. She’s a warm, charming and honest person and we barely get to see such appearances in today’s musical world.