When it was announced that Patti Smith would be playing Horses in its entirety I wanted to be there. No New Zealand show though. I found that out from Patti Smith herself. Surreal, huh? I wrote a short piece for my then daily-blogging fix, about how someone should bring Smith to NZ. I talked about how I’d seen her on the bill with Bob Dylan (and she was better on the night). It would be great to see here again, particularly because Horses was such a great album – and more than that, it was like a book or a movie. Something super special.
A week or so later – or a few days only, I can’t quite remember – I got an email from Patti Smith. It told me there’d be no New Zealand shows, they couldn’t fit in the schedule. She also thanked me for the kind words, for being a fan and told me that if I could make it to Sydney or Melbourne she’d offer me two tickets – backstage passes too. And we could have a chat; an interview.
The first few times I wrote back I couldn’t be quite sure it was real – but I figured it must be. Sometimes it’s good to trust. To have trust. To figure something you are reading online is true. Is real.
We made plans. Decided we had to go. Went to Melbourne at Easter – what better time to be seeing Patti Smith right?
When we docked down there’d been news of a sore throat, some vocal issues – I knew then and there that my interview-plans would be dashed. She’d be protecting her voice. Oh well, we’d still get to see the show…
And we did. And it was glorious. One of the best ever concert experiences. Jubilation. Such joyousness – great playing too, incredible music of course. But just a feeling, a spirit. Hope.
We were shuffled backstage after. And didn’t know how to act. We stood awkwardly. Then sat down.
We heard a journalist gush over Lenny Kaye – the only member of the band to come out to meet/greet. He thanked her for the profile piece. “Don’t be ridiculous – it wrote itself!” she said as she pawed his sleeve. I wanted to be sick. That is everything I hate about music-journalism right there.
We tried to sneak back out of the backstage area, and got caught. We were told to merge with the herd. They were all off to see a DJ set by Lenny Kaye. Good as that would have been we just wanted to go home, rest our weary feet and heads.
There was no chance of a meeting – Patti Smith’s assistant announced to the crowd that she had gone home. And besides I wasn’t going to walk in full of bluster and announce that she had wanted to see me…that’s not my style (I have no style at all, btw).
The next day I packed for the airport and caught a cab. An amazing weekend and an incredible show. Katy was staying on to work for a few days.
In the taxi to the airport I checked my messages before shutting my phone down. There was a message from Patti Smith telling me that she hoped I’d enjoyed the show. Telling me also that she waited around to meet us for 10-15 minutes and when we didn’t show she had to go. She hoped we were okay. She offered tickets to the following night and the chance to meet up once again.
I had to send a thanks email from the airport. A little gutted. But still elated.
Stubs is an occasional feature here at Off The Tracks – looking back through the ticket-stub box and remembering how the show went down.