London ball

Patti Smith at the London Palladium

Patti Smith at the London Palladium | Live Review

July 25, 2022


Patti Smith knocked the ball out of the park with her mere presence at the Palladium last night. She graced the stage in a long black blazer and tousled pigtails, prompting intense reactions from adoring fans young and old. At the rate of Redondo Beach, she rocked us from the height of her 75 years with a voice more powerful than ever. His band not only played, they were the music itself.

The iconic songwriter paid tribute to many great artists throughout the show. There was a chilling silence as she read Holy by Allen Ginsberg, devouring and spitting every word with fervor. His Bob Dylan covers The wicked messenger and Neil Young After the Gold Rush were deeply personal, yet faithful to the vocal styles of the originals.

Indeed, Smith’s vocal control was impressive: she held long resonant notes without faltering, effortlessly, as if possessed by the meaning of every word. Meanwhile, bassist Tony Shanahan shamelessly dug into his Fender Jazz as he alternated between lead melodic lines and meaty riffs. Drummer Jay Dee Daugherty was playing so musically he was barely noticeable – other than his shiny spiked fedora. Shanahan and longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye also shone on vocals, the latter covering Iggy Pop’s I want to be your dog and the first singing alongside Patti on several numbers.

Sunday night was a rare and much-needed sight of an aging rock star not jaded by the incessant repetition of her hits. Smith played Because the night and Free Money as they were written last year, keeping the audience on their feet for almost half the show. Although the Palladium was packed, it still felt like an intimate performance. Desperate fans called out to the gasping rockstar between almost every song – “I love you Patti!” You’re a legend!” to which she replied, blustering, “I’m the saddest icon I’ve ever seen.” A fan begged her from the balcony to take a letter she had written.

Under the Southern Cross led to an epic instrumental battle between Tony and Patti’s son Jackson Smith on guitar as the lead singer backed off. Crystal-clear stage sound meant every instrument came through perfectly.

The grand finale, Gloria was an orgy of dancing and singing in the theater hall. Smith held up his electric guitar, declaring, “It’s the weapon of our generation!” and proceeding to rip his strings in punk fashion as the commentaries screamed at the end of the gig.

Fans were in shock. Lots of people hung out after the show to take pictures in front of the sign and rehash every detail. Sunday Night with Patti Smith was truly a trip back to the 70s, when cries for freedom and peace seemed to have real meaning.

Jennifer Sanin
Photos: Monika S Jakubowska

For more information and future events visit Patti Smith’s website here.

To listen Gloria here: