review of irving plaza concert, june 22, 1996

[contributed by John Sulak <>]

I saw the Sat 22 show. Got off the NJTK at 16 for the Lincoln Tunnel and saw two limos. One waiting for the other to get through the toll both. Thought it might be her family coming up from Mantua. Later at the show, she mentioned her parents were in the audience and having their 50th.

I could see many people with Patti's band hanging out on the stairs backstage. One kid went and got some Dr. Peppers for a few people in the very front so that they would not lose their places. He turned out to be Jackson, Patti's son.

The guy in line in front of me said he was a veteran NYC punker from the '70s and was drummer for many bands, including "The Fuckers". Said "The Fuckers" are mentioned in a recent book that also mentions Patti. This drummer went to see Patti two years ago in Central Park and said she no longer plays Gloria because she is a Christian. He said some one shouted "Play Gloria" and she turned to him and replied with a rather stern face, "Jesus died for your sins too, young man."

Patti came out by herself with her book and some "John Lennon" reading glasses. She smiled and slowly put on the glasses and opened the book. She read "Piss Factory." The poem ends with a line like "I'm going to new york" repeated several times. By the last time, Patti was no longer reading, but shouting. She then calmly closed the book, smiled, took off her glasses, and said, "welcome me home, new york". The crowd went wild!

Later during the Sat 22 June show, Patti said "The good lord gives, and the good lord taketh away." Some guy shouted "ain't that the truth?". Patti turned and sternly said, "it is the truth".

Patti said Fred had given her three things: his life, a son, and a daughter. She then introduced Jackson, her son. Jackson played lead guitar as the band did "smoke on the water". He hammed it up for the NYC crowd by saying "i love new york" before the song began. Patti watched on from the stage-right speakers. She looked very proud and maybe a little protective. She joined in as described below from the night before. Jackson had dedicated his performance to two performers, I believe it was Stevie Ray Vaughan and someone else. (Anyone able to help here?) At the end, he said the people in the front row, or to his mom, "I hope I got the key right." Anyone who heard him said it was great.

Patti later in the show, introduced Lenny Kaye as someone that the lord give her 25 years ago. She walked off stage for Lenny's solo. Lenny held up a necklace he was wearing, a thin chain with a ring. He said. "Patti gave me this ring 25 years ago. It all started 25 years ago, just six blocks south of here." Lenny's solo was very good. I noticed Lenny was also wearing a wedding band. His solo album from the '80s showed him holding a baby. I do not know much more about Lenny.

I am not impartial; I have been a fan for many years. I had read a review in '74 or '75 before the Horses album came out and was hooked by the review. This was the first time I had ever seen Patti. Her music has always seemed to get me through tough personal times, whenever they may crop up. The music has been a meaningful part of my life.

Patti has tremendous energy and a lot of charisma. She loves interacting with an audience. A few songs after introducing the band, there was a pause between songs. I shouted "where's Ivan?". She said, what did you say? I repeated "where's Ivan?". She replied Ivan is in Prague and doing fine. I must have had a confused look on my face, because she added "Prague is outside Seattle." Always a sense of humor! She then dedicated the next song to the late Richard Sohl.

Somewhere in the show, someone else shouted "Patti, I missed you for 20 years". Patti paused, smiled, and said "you missed me? ...i hope you found something to help make the days go by while i was gone". I could then see another idea come into her head and a cheshire smile cross her face just before she added " ...i know i did".

Jeff Buckley came out and did vocals for one song [Beneath the Southern Cross?] , and quietly sitting in the corner wearing a hat that covered most of his face was a guitarist who played on nearly every song. Patti said that he was the "mystery man, Tom Verlaine."

She played a Dylan song and at the end said "Bob Dylan". At the end of "When The Doves Cry," she said "Prince". Later, at the end of "Because the Night", she said "10,000 Maniacs...or maybe that should be 9,999 Maniacs". Just before the final encore, fans were shouting out songs or bands for her to cover. Things like "Fuck the Clock [time is on my side]", etc. Amongst the chaos, I heard someone yell Metallica. It was Jackson on the stairs. Patti shook her head and said "I can never please my son"

There was no filming here, and the guy standing next to me (10 feet in front of Patti) had his audio taping stopped by security. They took his tapes and batteries.

At the beginning of the second encore, she said she was "taking the boys to Europe for a tour," and thanked us for being her guinea pigs. Only she and sister Kimberly played "Farewell Reel," which she dedicated to Fred. A young girl holding flowers on the stage steps seemed to be teary eyed. I wondered if it was her daughter or another family member. Later I looked at the cover of the new album and recognized the silhouette. This girl seemed to be about 8-ish. An older one of about 10 or 12 seemed to be a family member too. After writing this, it occurred to me that she could be Lenny Kaye's child. He was holding a baby in '84-86 or so on his solo album. I believe it could have been his daughter. Patti performed this song by naming the chords. I thought it was for her sister's benefit, but I later noticed that it is that way on the CD too.

The floor was crowded with people, but there was no pushing or attempts to get closer. The fans were really into the show and very friendly with each other. Lots of trading stories about things related to Patti. One guy said he thought it was a community like there was with the Grateful Dead. I saw a guy with a tee shirt saying "Patti's Back" on the back of it. Another women in line in front of me proudly showed off the 20 year old worn ragged t-shirt she was wearing. It said "horses" across the front.

Patti's voice sounds better now than on early albums. I have read that Fred had taught her a new way to sing. I can hear the results. GREAT!

One last comment on the show, after the last encore, "Farewell Reel," Patti left the stage by saying "goodbye and take care of your health".

Copyright © John Sulak 1996

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