2 reviews of 8/9/96 concert, stockholm, sweden

[contributed by Soren Nylin]

After having waited 17 years for a chance to see my favorite live, she finally came to Stockholm to perform at the Water Festival, a big week long event when the city celebrates its beauty. The "Blue Stage" was set on water in the city center, a great location which Patti admired a lot from stage. A good crowd turned up, about 7500 people. It seems that Patti has more of a following in Sweden than I had dreamed of. For instance the record is on the top 20, and she made the front page (with pictures) of the biggest morning newspaper and one of the big evening papers. The morning paper also ran an interview.

And how was the performance? Well, I wasn't disappointed! Patti's voice was going, and she excused herself for this, promising to be back soon with her voice intact. But in truth, I would barely have noticed. I was pleasantly surprised at how tight the band was—it was really an accomplished performance. My only regret was that they had to give up on "When Doves Cry" because Patti's voice broke. It was really a thrill to see and hear this living legend live at last. Tom Verlaine was excellent, hiding away in the back. I hope they kidnap him and make him a permanent member.

Reviews of the concert was very favorable, although in my opinion overdoing the "broken voice" part. She got four out of five in the evening paper, and a rave review.

Copyright © Soren Nylin 1996

[review by Anders Hvidfeldt, Aftonbladet, August 9, 1996]

Marks: 4 out of 5
Place: Water Festival
Audience: 4200
Bonus: Tom Verlaine on guitar!

She is absolutely wonderful. Of course! Patti Smith, 50 in a couple of months, and so full of energy -- even though her voice fails her. It's one of those nights we will remember for a long time.

Patti should of course really have stayed in the hotel bed, taking care of her ailing throat. But except for a break half an hour into the concert, when guitarist Lenny Kaye takes over, it's full throttle most of the time. Patti starts by telling off the press photographers. She is as hot-tempered as "Little My" [this is a character in Tove Jansson's stories, popular in Sweden], and so fully charged and magical that you can't take your eyes off her. She sings songs from her whole career. Takes her shoes off and dances around barefoot in "Dancing Barefoot," has all of us shouting along to Van Morrison's "Gloria" and gives us several songs from her fantastic comeback Gone Again. In the more quiet songs it's dead silent in the sea of people. Few artists are met with such respect as Patti Smith.

By the way, make this woman head of PR for the next Water Festival. Over and over again she celebrates Stockholm and explains to us that we should be proud of our city.

"I will be back soon, with my voice intact," she says. Make that a promise, Patti. It can't be 18 more years until next time you show up.

A note of explanation (from Soren): Patti's "attack" on the press photographers came about when they disturbed her during the first song ("Wing") by talking loudly in front of stage. There was a wide fenced-off space in front for photographers and security. Patti thought it was too wide, keeping the audience too far away, "There are...chairs up here, know what I mean?" Patti asked the crowd if they had paid for their tickets, and told the photographers/security that the rest of us "are here to work"...

Translation Soren Nylin 1996

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