babel-list review of paris, france, concert, july 2, 1996

[contributed by Yves Deplasse]

On July 2, there was no opening act; the show started at 20:45, with Patti reading 5 poems : "Piss Factory," "Dream of Rimbaud" (she called him "mon premier amour" ), then "Jeanne d'Arc." She had started reading "I feel like shit" when someone shouted "Why ?", and she patiently answered that, if you were about to be burned at the stake, wouldn't you feel the same ?

She then introduced Tom Verlaine, who sat in the dark and played some light guitar chords on "Schinden." She put as much love in her reading as she had put despair in "Jeanne d'Arc." Finally, "Dog Dream;" she sang the first verses, then read the rest and kind of shocked me (not really...) when she put her hand between her legs in a very suggestive way. Things one usually does in private, not in front of 3000 people.

Next, Lenny Kaye and Oliver Ray arrived. Patti took her guitar and the three of them played "Ravens," sitting at the front of the stage. Between each song she talked with the audience. She seemed extremely pleased to be on stage.

Tony Shanahan, Jay Dee D. and Tom Verlaine came out to play "Beneath the Southern Cross." The last acoustic song was "Ghost Dance," then the show turned electric with "Redondo Beach," " Wicked Messenger " and a song from Lenny Kaye.

Unable to untie her shoes, she asked someone in the front row to help her, and then gave (I should say threw) her socks to the audience. "Dancing Barefoot" followed, then "Walking Blind." She chatted some more with the audience, then the band did "Summer Cannibals," "When Doves Cry," and "About A Boy." The atmosphere changed with "Free Money": some people tried to dance but the hall was so full it was almost impossible to move. The show ended with "People Have The Power" (Patti alone) linked with "Gone Again."

The band came back to play "Because the Night," then "Land" with completely different lyrics. This turned into "Rock N Roll Nigger" -- loud, powerful, dangerous, out of control.

For the final encore ("Farewell Reel"), she told us Fred's favorite story about Paris -- that when he was in the MC5, the French boys would stand in front of him, and say "Sonic, we want to see blood!" (said in deep French accent).

And that was it. Two hours of passion, tenderness, power ; a show where past and present merged to create something unique and unforgettable. If I had to pick one word to describe her performance, I would choose: sincere.

Copyright © Yves Deplasse 1996

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