Patti Smith / 5.6.2018...

By Lucy Harbron - 21:08

Last night I saw Patti Smith live in Manchester. I stood in a crowd beside hundred of others, and I saw my idol, my inspiration, sing, talk, dance, and honestly, for the majority of the time, I stood not knowing what to do with myself, just staring up at this mythical figure in complete awe, and shock.

I bought Just Kids for £3 when I was around 14/15, a friend bought me a CD of Horses when I was 17, after I'd fallen completely in love with her writing and he thought it was time to introduce me to her music. Since then, Patti Smith has become the figure I hold closest to my heart. I've read Just Kids five times; writing an essay on it got me into university and I'm about to begin a dissertation on it. I would run into a burning building to save my signed first edition copy, I hold so much of her advice and her words as gospel, and I know I wouldn't be the person I am, with my passion for literature and the concept of an artist, without stumbling across her book. I've been captivated and inspired since the beginning, and that's why part of me was anxious for last night.

They say you should never meet your idol. The potential for disappointment is so high when you think so much of someone you've not only never met, but really have no idea of what their true personality is. You can have such a strong sense of the person, then see it shattered within seconds, even by the slightest of details like them not playing your favourite song, finishing too early, or not behaving quite like your brain had imagined they would. As I sat on the grass outside waiting to go in, this realisation hit me. I was so scared that my beloved image of Patti as this incredibly free, wise, vasty intelligent and political, strong woman would be ruined by a minor detail. I had no idea how I would even react; cry and just dance and clap like at any other gig. My boyfriend asked what I'd do if I met her and I couldn't answer, I couldn't think of a single understandable sentence I would say to her, and I had no expectations of her, only love and admiration for her work. So I decided to take that as a good thing, and let it be enough as we walked in.

When I was asked how the gig was, all I could say was perfect.

From the second she walked on, you could feel her presence. Patti Smith is as captivating on stage as her writing is on the page, or as she sounds in interviews. She switched seamlessly between funny anecdotes about her life, her toothbrush, her tv preferences, and insightful political messages and beautiful recollections. At 71, she dances around the stage, smiling to herself, throwing the mic stand around, spitting and screaming. And then she calms, says thank you and giggles, she stands on the edge of the stage and waves like shes greeting a friend, and her face fills with love and pride as her son plays a guitar solo in Because The Night, a song about her late husband, Fred. She was the person from her work, in equal parts bold, strong, punk, and gentle, wise, intellectual, and she clearly loves her art with her whole heart as she shared the joy we all felt in the crowd.

And my reaction? I cried and danced. From the corner of his eye, my boyfriend caught me wide eyed and weeping as Patti dedicated a song to Sam Shepard, and again the second she mentioned Fred, and again as she left the stage. Happy tears, as I was seeing my idol there in the flesh, seeing a gig I never thought I'd get to see and sharing it with the man I love, who draped an arm over my shoulder, sang along with me, and danced during the chorus of Gloria. I was so happy, I left with a full heart with a growing place in it for Patti.

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  1. Sounds like you had an incredible time, I'm so jealous!!x

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

  2. im so glad u finally got to see her! it sounds perfect too, I've seen her live like 2 years ago n it was just so fun. she really does kno how to put on a show. I've been meaning to read just kids too and this just reminded me about it, so thank u!!!

    a fucking look


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