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Patti Smith at Rams Head Live!

December 7, 2012

Patti Smith and her band lit up the stage at Rams Head last Saturday with grins and youthful energy. At 65, Smith continues to deliver a powerful and genuinely passionate performance. The set started off with “Redondo Beach” off Smith’s debut Horses, and continued into a mix of classics and songs off the new album Banga, with sermon-like rants sprinkled throughout. The crowd was jazzed, especially for hits like “Dancing Barefoot” and “Because the Night,” (which Smith belted out effortlessly), and even encouraged Smith to rant. She spoke poetically of nature and man’s relationships with evil, called attention to World Aids Day, talked about anticipating her 66th birthday with longtime bandmate Lenny Kay, and described their unsuccessful efforts to get into the Poe House- though she said she did like the neighborhood, and is a fan of Baltimore. At one point Smith gave the stage to her band, who rocked out with a few covers as Smith sat down in front of them watching. Though perhaps the most enthralling moments were in the last two songs before the encore. “Land,” which started off sparse, elicited a “Could you play something different?” from Smith, but built momentum, spilling into “Gloria.” Smith sang, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins,” pause, “Thank you Jesus.” Long pause, “But not mine!” And amidst the spelling, she slowed down and called out “P-U-S-S-Y-R-I-O-T, G-L-O-R-I-A!,” and the band burst back in with the chorus. Top it off with Smith shooting spit on the stage, her son Jackson on guitar, and an encore ending with “People Have the Power,” and you have a feel-good rager of a rock show.