Patti Smith in Brighton & Dylan’s ‘Tempest’
She and her band have been on the road for several months now, on the back of their excellent Banga album. The musicians are tight, assured and powerful – and anything but jaded. She is supremely confident and self-aware, singing and moving superbly, seemingly relaxed and in her element. As the show progresses, she switches easily between communicating girlish glee – in telling a host of stories from her seaside stay and then upstaging Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets medley by sitting on the edge of the stage swinging her feet and waving to the audience – and delivering a series of mesmerising performances.
She ranged widely across her back catalogue, with some older, obscurer selections like ‘Distant Fingers’ and ‘Free Money’ mixed in with new material like ‘Fuji-San’ and ‘Banga’ – the latter featuring her son Jackson reprising the dog noises he contributed on the record. And there were extraordinary readings of a series of classics – ‘Redondo Beach’, ‘Pissing In A River’, ‘Because The Night’, ‘Gloria’ and finally – and unbeatably – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger’. She spelled out Pussy Riot’s name at the end of ‘Gloria’ and returned to their cause in the electrifying climax of the set – convinced and convincing in her determination that people do indeed have the power ‘to redeem the work of fools’.
His is an old man’s album: a perfectly decent and listenable one, but with nothing particularly new to communicate, and a fair amount of padding and verbal clumsiness in amongst the one-liners and flashes of wit, which remind us of why we’re still listening to him. Inevitably, it isn’t quite as good as some of the 5-star reviews suggest: it is an unavoidable fact that Bob does not sing or write as well as he used to. I certainly do not dismiss late-period Dylan and I love the fact that he is still out there doing his thing. But I can’t say I return to his recent albums that often, despite some classy playing and treasurable moments, and I no longer rush to get tickets to see him live.
In contrast, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that Patti, at 65, is an artist in her prime, vital and compelling. I’m already wondering when I can see her again. A US tour with Neil Young? Hmm…
(from Eden On The Line)