review of 9/14/96 concert at the gorge, oregon

[contributed by Clayton Trapp]

I just wanted to say a couple things about Patti and the Gorge, which for some reason I shall number, and before that I want to say that I was very moved by her performance and feel blessed to have witnessed it, and, she's got a helluva band.

1)  Patti is obviously mourning. Her performance is much less a rock and roll show than it is an American variation of an Irish wake, where the grieving gypsy widow is moved to tearful exclamations and beating her breast. I don't mean that she's presenting a theatrical variation of a wake, I mean our girl is suffering terribly and showing us open wounds the likes of which I hope I never have to suffer.

2)  What strikes me about thought #1 is that we are the chosen audience. It would have been very easy for Patti to step back from the spotlight forever, or at least for a time until the pain is less encompassing. I think most of us retreat with such a devastating sense of loss, rather than presenting to anyone who wants to see. There at the Gorge I saw a beautiful, brilliant, visionary woman to whom I owe a great debt, suffering shamelessly in front of thousands. I have to say that the spectacle evoked a lot of conflicting emotions, the strongest of which is admiration. We are obviously very dear to her, and her public suffering is for our edification.

3)  Patti gave an unbelievably powerful babel about Jesus. I imagine that this makes some "orthodox" Christians uncomfortable as her ideas don't necessarily line up with theirs, and non-Christians unhappy as it seems a repudiation of her earlier statements. I applaud Patti's courage, and metaphysical quest. It should give no one any concern or regrets. Patti has never accepted anyone's answers but her own, and that is what she implicitly urges us to do. Christians are no more all like Jerry Falwell than Californians are all like Charles Manson, or Blacks are all like Clarence Thomas. Patti's utterances have always been of one courageously seeking and announcing the truth, and that will not change.

4)  The Gorge show was the single greatest indictment of assigned seating at concerts that I've ever seen. I think Neil Young is great, but his audience clearly didn't know what to think of Patti. The crowd was very polite, so far as you can be polite without actually clapping. Patti was not well received. Think how different it would have been if there hadn't been chairs in the middle of the floor, and the only people up against the stage were those of us who came to see Patti. She didn't look particularly disturbed, I mean, fuck! this is the chick who grew up fighting metal bands for stagetime to recite poetry. She was sending out the message she has and it will be received. But I can't help thinking that she's not a closed circuit when she's open, and that she feeds on energy coming back at her. Shamefully at the Gorge there was virtually none. I think she mentioned Neil Young & Crazy Horse so many times just to hear some response from the audience. I think she did this for her own amusement, and not out of spite or in a mocking way. Patti needs and deserves venues where the congregation is free to move around, and where the circuits are physically closer together.

5)  The mourning will not go away, it is a part of her, but there will be perspective borne of changing events and time. She has more to offer than we can imagine from here.

Peace and teleological agitation...

Copyright © Clayton Trapp 1996

back to babelogue