review of 3/27/96 concert, 4th & B, san diego

      by douglas penn

Just at the end of the last set, Patti lurched into "Rock N Roll Nigger" and the crowd left their seats and surged forward. Again that reptilian blood that makes her scratch her crotch and blow that magic horn. Guy smiling next to me looked like Andy Warhol. Andy he did. Lots of older folx in this arena. A small venue that was not 1/2 sold out.

Vegas show was cancelled and those 84 people there must have been disappointed. Except for that man in the front row who got his book signed. And bless that man. He and his drunken wife. It cost me one of my favorite pens, a small blessing, but parked next to me, I saw him fingering a tape and I gave him my address for an exchange. Hopefully he can read my handwrit'ing when he sobers up, and god be, thank you Fi for letting me barter some penthouse and some creem.

The set list:

Patti started off alone on stage with a story of how at the train station she became fascinated by a blind man who could see with his soul. Apparently she gave him her glasses. !!! So blinded, she couldn't read any opening poems and promised a few special songs instead. So excusing my complete songlist ignorance, here's what she played before the intermission:

Farewell Reel (writ' for Fred)
(You Give Me) Fever
that song for Jerry Garcia
some new song that kinda rambles
In Heaven Blue
Lenny Kaye singing Waylan Jennings's "Love of the Common People"
People Have the Power
Smoke on the Water (yep, with Jackson)

Overall, the set was somewhat disjointed (though, yes, she always seems that way, right, and that's why we like her). Seems the cancelling of the Vegas shows upset her a bit. That and losing her glasses. Tom Verlaine noodled in the corner for this show. Apparently he sat in the front row during the LA shows and did not play. To make up the low turnout to Bob Silva, the promoter, Patti took the obligatory intermission and swore she was not getting old and copping out to authority.

"(You Give Me) Fever" was interrupted several times by Patti. She somewhat explained the 45 minute show delay by saying they were practicing this song in the bathroom. Througout the night she made continual references to this bathroom. She cited the kinetic motions (hip, hip, thrust thrust) people were making in there and several scatalogical jokes later in the show, during the "Not Fade Away" improv.

The second set:

Gone Again
Redondo Beach
Dancin Barefoot
Because the Night
Dead Man Walking
About A Boy
Rock N Roll Nigger
Perfect Moon
Not Fade Away
and Gloria for an encore.

The second set took us up and took us down. Took us out. F'in blew my mind away. Gave me brief release from this stage in life. My mind wandered as my mind is wont to do when it's happy, but f'in hail mother of god, "About A Boy" blew my britches away. She was talking about a shotgun, yelling about a shotgun, just a boy, just a boy she'll never know. Most of the previous songs had never hit full tilt. The dBA setting had never hit red. The Waylon Jennings cover by Lenny was almost like a bar band cover, and "Smoke on the Water" was somewhat disjointed by various mother/son complications. Guess Jackson wasn't playing/performing to expectations so Patti pushed, prodded a little. To no avail, of course. Teenagers. Fire in the Sky. Fire in the Sky!!!

So "About A Boy" unleashed Patti full tilt. Tom Verlaine continued to noodle in the corner. "Rock N Roll Nigger" brought the crowd out of their seat front and center and Patti the performer took over. The crowd sang bits of chorus into her mike and that's when I saw Andy. God Blessin' Andy. "Perfect Moon" was a soliloquy of close encounters. Beautiful song/poem. She told us why "Fever" had been so coitus interruptus. Seems she had felt someone blowing air onto the back of her head. "You know who I thought it was don't you?" She asked. Lenny Kaye in his black leather pants and black skinny T just stood there and stared at her back.

And the end, Patti apologised for the rambling of the show, thanked us of San Diego, and drove into "Not Fade Away." Telling a tale of having to pee, bathrooms, and wet desires she performed the improv I'd been hoping to hear during "Land". Very sexual and potent for a woman her age. Mama mia.

Can anybody explain the lack of ticket sales?

Copyright © Douglas Penn 1996

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