babel-list reviews: 9/5/96 central park, nyc show

[contributed by Mitch Gart]

The Central Park concert was the best Patti show I've ever seen, including four in the '70s and four in the '90s. The show was 2 1/4 hours. The set list:

Piss Factory (spoken)
Radio Ethiopia
People Have the Power (spoken)
Gone Again
Beneath the Southern Cross (mostly acoustic)
Dancing Barefoot
Redondo Beach
The Wicked Messenger
Ain't It Strange
When Doves Cry
Ain't It Strange
Summer Cannibals
Ghost Dance (acoustic)
About a Boy
Not Fade Away
Wild Leaves
Free Money
People Have the Power (electric)
Smoke on the Water
Gloria (Van Morrison version, fades into Excelcis Deo version)
Rock N Roll Nigger
The Jackson Song
For me, the biggest moments were "Radio Ethiopia," which started out like the album version but evolved into a story about a South African runner; and the combination of "Ain't It Strange" and "When Doves Cry" into a great new package.

[contributed by Jonathan Kaye]

Seconding the thoughts of others, I thought the show was a flawed gem: probably better than either of the two Irving Plaza shows (but how do you really compare?) but probably not as good as the Lollapalooza show last summer.

I thought the first great moment was during the instrumental opening to "Radio Ethiopia." Patti stalked back and forth the entire width of the stage, in darkness, outside the reach of the stage lights. I have to admit that every time she went outside the lighted area it was for great effect, but I kept worrying about another fall.

Her "babel" about the South African runner winning the Olympic marathon was pretty amazing and the use of reverb during the babel/song was great. I loved Thurston Moore's addition to "Rock N Roll Nigger," but missed "Land/Horses" at the beginning. I guess the 45 minute version of "When Doves Cry" that she promised to bring back from Europe never materialized, although it does work well in the middle of "Ain't It Strange."

[contributed by Steve Kenney]

Patti was truly a commanding rock and roll star last night, she owned that stage and that crowd. She transported herself and took us all with her to that place where no one knows what will happen. The band had a set list taped to the stage, but they were jawing with each other between songs, probably not changing the list but checking in with each other. They were probably just marveling about where they were headed, because there was nothing predictable or mundane about the energy those songs were generating. Patti was braiding her hair during "Wild Leaves." Eyes closed, she was in that trance, her physical energy buzzing around looking for something to do while her emotional energy took over.

[contributed by Fernando Manriquez]

What a night ! It was filled with mystery, passion, magic, and sex . It's been many years since I've witnessed a concert that so firmly re-established the power of rock-n-roll.

Never having seen Patti perform before I wasn't sure what to expect (other than a performance that would blow my mind). I was a little surprised to find that Patti is actually quite shy. I was quite charmed by her obvious nervousness. It also seemed to me that she was surprised? overwhelmed? Judging by the response she received, I can't imagine why. Doesn't she know that she rules?!

I loved:

How loose and playful the performance was. It seemed they were having a lot of fun onstage.

The transition from "People Have the Power" (spoken) into "Gone Again." It took my breath away.

The way Patti commanded the stage. She was completely in charge of of the performance. Yet she allowed the night to follow its own course - it seemed that anything could happen.

"Free Money" was incredible!!!!! I thought the stage was going to levitate.

Thurston Moore, Jackson, Lenny, and Oliver all raging on "Rock N Roll Nigger." Amazing.

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