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Patti Smith - Live at Montreux 2005

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Smith opens this show with "Redondo Beach," a cut from her 1975 debut album Horses, and that's not the evening's only nod to the era; the punk poetess performs her set wearing the same outfit that she wore for the Horses cover photo shoot. Charming is not a word normally used to describe Smith and here the camera catches her spitting on the stage multiple times; after the first time it gets a little off-putting but in some odd way it adds to her mystique as the act punctuates intense readings of "Beneath the Southern Cross," "Dancing Barefoot" and another cut from Horses, "Free Money." Smith just sings until half way through the set when she picks up her guitar to play a noisy and whammy-bar heavy part during "25th Floor;" later she plays atmospheric clarinet on "7 Ways of Going" and harmonica on the medley "Not Fade Away"/ "Momento Mori" but it is the delivery of her words, at once literate as well as seedy, that makes her performance so riveting. Included in the dozen-song set are Smith's take on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," a version of her radio hit and co-write with Springsteen "Because the Night" and a concert-ending "People Have the Power." Tom Verlaine of Television and longtime Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye appear on guitars and the entire band is flawless throughout, never upstaging one of rock's most unusual front women.


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