PATTY SMITH IN VILLA ADA (ROME)
Patti Smith: A living legend and piece of rock history landed in Rome at the Villa Ada for the musical event “Rome Meets the World” that this summer offers many artists and reaches its climax with this event. The concert had a different sound, not the usual rock concert, but one more intimate dimension, perhaps even more close with the audience, which gave ample space and a greater focus to its vocal and gestural interpretations.
Accompanied by the historian guitarist Lenny Kaye and daughter Jesse Smith on piano, the priestess of rock is managed to create a simple and solemn atmosphere. Needless to say that Villa Ada was overflowing with people and there was a hellish and confusing line at the ticket office. Around half past ten p.m. Patti Smith arrives on the stage and there are also 2 guitars and a piano. The first two songs are dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson, so they start to play ”Beneath The Southern Cross “, the volumes are low and the people listen in silence excited. Then comes the time to submit her daughter Jesse who appears at the piano and so start the first tunes of “Birdland”, one of the best songs performed throughout the evening thanks to the delirious interpretation of Patty Smith: the plaintive voice, the words fast, movements almost epileptic in a growing experience concluded with the first real applause from all parties. The splendid and melancholic reagge song “Redondo Beach” only played with two guitars and organ. “Ghost Dance”,”Dancing Barefoot” and “Pissing In A River” interpreted magnificently: Lenny Kaye has an acoustic guitar but he played as if he had an electric guitar in his hands. Everyone sings “People Have The Power” and then there is “Because The Night” that Patti Smith introduced presenting it as the Italian Song. After the break Patty sings “Wing” dedicated to the friend Roberto Saviano who was in the backstage. The song that closes the concert, as many were expecting, was “Glory”, which has concluded magnificently the exhibition.
Patti Smith, who was born in Chicago in 1946, is not only a passionate singer and interpreter, but also a poetess and artist (her works will be displayed at the Robert Miller Gallery) who has worked in New York’s underground theatres, has been a busker and has performed as an actress and as a poetess, then succeeding in combining the expressive power of music with that of words, realising records that are now considered ad landmarks of rock. Patti Smith began to approach the world of music in the early Seventies, when she began to perform with Lenny Kaye, a rock composer: he would play the guitar and she would sing her poems. Few years after piano player Richard Sohl joined them, and together they started performing more regularly, playing also at the CBGB and succeeding in signing a record deal with an emerging label. This happened in 1975, and Horses made people discover Patti Smith’s music and poetry, paving the way for other successful albums and songs, like Because the Night, very famous song which was born of the collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, and which was included in the album Easter (1978). In 1979 Patty retired from the scene, but her voluntary exile lasted only 10 years: in 1988 she released the album Dream of Life, which was written together with her husband Fred Smith. With songs like People have the Power this record marked the artist’s return to the world of music. She did not published any other records until 1996, when she released Gone Again, which was followed by other works and live performances.