The New Year, A New Moon, And A New Venue For Patti Smith

Patti Smith at Hynes Convention Center, Boston,  First Night, 12/31/2014
Patti Smith at Hynes Convention Center, Boston, First Night, 12/31/2014

First Night 2014

The city really sent Mayor Thomas “Mumbles” Menino out with a bang. As it should be. He served as Boston’s mayor for over twenty years and saw us through the likes of 9/11 and the Marathon bombings.
So, for the 2014 First Night, New Year’s Eve celebration, the fireworks were extreme, the party was hardy, and for any Patti Smith fan, it was epic. The godmother of punk herself was headlining at Hynes Auditorium with opener Dean Wearham for the mere cost of a First Night button.

Patti New Year

PYN was a thing for years. Patti Smith’s birthday falls near New Year’s Eve. It was legend to take in one of her annual birthday shows at CBGB’s in New York which closed in October of 2006. She played the last concert there, to close out the club, and subsequently continued shows at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom on an annual basis for years.

Hynes Auditorium

Our show was scheduled to begin around 8:30. The queue ran half a city block, but at least it was inside because it was bitter cold outside.We waited and hoped that we’d get seats. If you had the dough, you could sit up front and even meet the band afterwards. They had a couple of tables set up with merch, and we manged seats with the hoi polloi and sat through Dean Wearham. I didn’t think he was that bad, kind of reminded me of the Dbs, I mean, he was in Galaxie 500, but my peeps complained hardily. By the time Smith hit the stage we were surly. But that changed quickly.

be strong, be happy and don’t be afraid

At 67 years old Smith remains a force, yet her smile is as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa’s. Her ferocity seems to come from a mother’s need to protect her babies, her people, her world. Her voice soared, growled, snarled and roared, and Lenny Kaye and his band were tight and beautiful, providing a musical match made in heaven.

She dedicated “Capital Letter” her Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack number to Jennifer Lawrence, as a beautiful strong woman, saying “there’s nothing like a girl with a bow and arrow.” “Perfect Day” brought tears to my eyes, as Smith with no extraneous explanation sang a lovely heart felt rendition of one of Lou Reed’s touching songs. While Lenny Kaye and his band played, Smith walked the floor of the auditorium. I was thrilled to get a handshake. I have my right hand mounted under glass on the wall, well, in my mind I do.

Smith took the stage again with “Beautiful Boy,” by John Lennon, for her grandson, then asked people gathered at the foot of the stage if they played guitar. One lucky woman got to go up and play on stage. The show was difficult to photograph because they had such a hot spotlight on Smith, or maybe she just glows.

Patti Smith Calls For Revolution For The Year Of The Horse

Smith spoke of 2013’s losses and people’s resiliency citing the Marathon bombings, and how Boston hung together, and our need to do that worldwide. The audience literally howled their approval. As the beat incited people to dance, Smith called for revolution invoking the names Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot, John Walker Lindh, and Ralph Nader. She quipped about speaking to Nader on the phone, and how he wouldn’t say fucking, but that they agree “People Have The Power.” Smith ended with Horses and Gloria blessing us commanding us — be strong, be happy and don’t be afraid. Have a great year, year of the horse.