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Patti Smith at The Ford

Patti Smith at The Ford with surprise guest Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, along with Tony Shanahan and Smith’s son Jackson Smith.

L A Music Scene hasn’t been to a live gig since March 8, 2020 and we found ourselves pinching ourself as we sat in our chair at The Ford anxiously awaiting Patti Smith’s presence on the stage. What a huge surprise when Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) came out with her. Also sharing stage space with Smith was Patti Smith band member Tony Shanahan and Smith’s son Jackson Smith.

Smith and Flea had just done a fundraiser together and LA Music Scene gave our kudos to Flea on Twitter and said how excited L A Music Scene was to attend Smith’s concert on 9/2/21. 

Imagine our delight that Flea came out of his Covid 19 retirement to play alongside the “God-Mother of Punk Rock,” PattiSmith.

Patti Smith at The Ford
Patti Smith at The Ford with surprise guest Flea.

Smith and her trio of musicians put on a fierce show that made us realize that Smith had totally filled the void that Janis Joplin’s death in 1970 had left. Not long after Joplin’s overdose along came Smith and thrilled us with her quick wit and excellent song crafting skills. Smith’s “Easter” cemented the deal for L A Music Scene, which is an excellent piece of artistic revelry.

Smith’s wit shone through as she introduced her trio of musicians and said that she was just a mother and that she was happy to be back…a mother of what you may be asking. With all the “F” bombs she dropped during the set we’ll leave that to your imagination. LOL

Smith and her men took her audience on a trip across her career and favored us with “Beautiful/Wing,” “Grateful,” “Redondo Beach,” “My Blakean Year,” “GhostDance,” “Dancing Barefoot,” “One Too Many Many Mornings,” “Beneath The Southern Cross,” “Because The night,” “Peaceable Kingdom,” “Pissing In A River,” “Land/Gloria” and her encore song was “People Have The Power.”

The song “Ghost Dance” is very dear to us and tugs at our Miwok heartstrings because this particular Miwok clan were Ghost Dancers under the tutelage ofthe powerful “Wovoka.”

In her song “Babelogue,” Smith not only announces that she is an American artist, but she also states that she is a Comanche.

Smith pointed out that “Ghost Dance” song is about hope, which is about right. My children once told me that when I went out their father would put “Ghost Dance” on and have them participate in his version of a “Ghost Dance” which included dancing with blankets on…Smith’s music got me through a very rough patch in my life.

“Babelogue” is like a rap song in a way and L A Music Scene called out to Smith more than once asking that they do it. This rap song reminds L A Music Scene ofa spiel we did once many decades ago in a nightclub.

Gotta say that Flea and Smith really cooked on most songs and really had mesmerized us watching those two go down on a song as only seasoned veteran rockers can do.

L A Music Scene was outta its mind with joy at the show because this was the epitome of what real seasoned musicians sound like when they get into a groove and play. Flea could not have done a better jam with Smith and her men if he had months to rehearse the material, which he didn’t. All in all, the band’s performance was a symbiotic exchange of energy. However, when they performed “Land/Gloria,” L A Music Scene swears they saw Jim Morrison dancing around them.

We had to laugh when Smith was talking about not being able to spit on the stage since Covid 19 hit and how it’s going down her chin, etc. Because we have been a Go Go dancer on stage we had “danced” into that more thanonce. Yuck, but it is necessary to do that, just wear shoes.

Patti Smith at The Ford
Patti Smith at The Ford.

Just as L A Music Scene felt a special kinship with Janis Joplin, a special bond/kinship exists between Smith and L A Music Scene.

For those that do not know some of the highlights of Smith’s brilliant career, please allow L A Music Scene to enlighten its readers.

Just as we have hung out with the Dalai Lama’s monks, Smith has spent time with the Dalai Lama himself. She met him in September, 1995 at a WorldPeace Conference in Berlin and, in June, 2015, she brought him out during her “Pyramid” stage performance in Glastonbury to honor him on his 80th birthday.

Smith is the one that Bob Dylan chose to accept his “Nobel Prize” in Literature December, 2016. Also, she was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and was named the Commander of the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the

French Ministry of Culture in 2007…we love Paris. She is also an accomplished author and has won awards for her excellent word crafting skills.

In addition, she was friends/lover to Robert Mapplethorpe who she was a frequent subject for. Mapplethorpe did Smith’s cover for her “Horses” album. Smith’s NewYork Times Bestseller “Just Kids” is about her relationship with Mapplethorp.

The crowd at Smith’s Ford gig was a mixture of older fans, young fans and in between those ages fans that added to the ambiance the crowd generated. People that had gone to her gig on August 31 were commenting on how lively this crowd was compared to her Pappy and Harriet’s gig in Pioneertown.

All in all, it was good to see Smith again since we hadn’t seen her since her gig at Amoeba Music in Hollywood in October, 2012 when she was touring to support her album “Banga,” which was a book with the “Banga” CD inside.

Smith and her trio’s encore song was “People Have The Power” which was the icing on her performance cake as she was exhorting her audience to act upon things that need fixing.

During her set, Smith said things such as “If you see something needs fixing then fix it,” which we totally agree with. It is up to all of us to fix the things that we see that aren’t right and take a stand. Write your representatives, blog, vlog, write, sing about it, get the word out there and VOTE.

Patti Smith at The Ford was memorable not only because of the outstandingly fierce performance throughout the entire set, but because of the epiphany we had about Smith filling the void that Janis Joplin’s overdose left. Our fandom of Joplin is such that we were at Joplin’s Hollywood Walk ofFame Star ceremony as Jampol Artist Management’s guest.

Thank you, Patti Smith, for gracing Los Angeles with your presence and for totally rocking us out.

Caroline McElroy
Author: Caroline McElroy

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL

Caroline McElroyhttps://carolinemcelroy.wordpress.com/
The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL