Sun 3/12 @ 8PM
In 1975, Patti Smith, a poet and visual artist who willed herself to become a rock & roll star, dropped one of the most original and incendiary albums of all time: Horses. It did what so many albums failed to do — captured the electrifying, spiraling, incantatory frenzy of her live performances. The way she integrated poetry and spoken word with music and her self-presentation that broke popular music’s rigid gender boundaries were sui generis.
Is it better to burn out than to fade away, as Neil Young asserted? Patti Smith probably had no choice. She produced three more albums: Radio Ethiopia (1976), Easter (1978) and Wave (1979) but she’d already shown signs that she couldn’t go on at the level of body-and-soul commitment when she fell off a stage in early 1977 and sustained debilitating injuries requiring a long period of rehab.
Then it was all over. She fell in love, married former MC5 member Fred “Sonic” Smith, moved to Detroit and gave up her career to raise her family. Between 1979 and Fred Smith’s death in 1994, she released only a single album and one book of poetry. Since then she’s been more productive with six albums, numerous books of poetry, photography and memoirs.
Currently, she’s touring again, playing Horses in its entirely, with a band that includes two members of the original Patti Smith Group, guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty. It’s hard to imagine she can re-capture even a fraction of the freshness and excitement she offered in 1975, but that’s no rap against the music. She set a high bar.
She’ll be performing at the State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Tickets are $29.50-$59.50.