Patti Smith : April Fool : London Troxy : 13 September 2012

02-04-2024

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The divine Patti Smith and her band perform 'April Fool' live at the Troxy in East London on 13 September 2012.

'April Fool', co-written by Patti Smith and Tony Shanahan, was the lead single from Patti's 2012 album, 'Banga'. Patti's lyric was inspired by the work of the 19th century Russian writer, Nikolai Gogol, and was dedicated to her friend Milos. Found out more, from Patti herself here:
http://www.pattismith.net/aprilfool_lyrics.html
The album version of 'April Fool', incidentally, features some beautiful mercurial guitar work from Television's Tom Verlaine.

This was a very special Patti Smith show, and the atmosphere was electric. The career spanning set was, in my humble opinion, a little light on material from Patti's excellent new album, 'Banga'. I had hoped to hear live renditions of personal favourites, 'Maria', 'Nine' and the epic 'Constantine's Dream', but it was not to be. Happily, this minor disappointment was more than compensated for by a stunning version of the wonderful early song, 'Distant Fingers' and a thrilling performance of 'Beneath the Southern Cross'.

One minor (Rock'n'Roll) niggle. The Troxy is a beautiful Art Deco building. It is also, in my opinion, not particularly well suited for use as a music venue where the audience is standing. The main auditorium is on two levels, with a barrier between. Unfortunately, despite the Troxy being a cinema conversion, neither space has a raked floor. Standing in a space with a flat floor amidst around 2000 other people is fine if you are 6 foot plus. If you are not, you will struggle to catch a glimpse of the artist between a towering sea of heads. The consequence of this was a constant stream of people trying to push their way to the front, because they couldn't see a thing either! Sample conversation as the umpteenth person shoves their way past us and comes to a halt directly in front of us, just inches from my face... Me: 'Where are you trying to get to?' Shoving person: 'I'm trying to get to the front' Me: 'Oh really. Why now?' Shoving person: 'I just want to be able to see. I can't see anything'! And each time this happened, the audience would reshuffle a little. Sometimes the view would improve slightly as a consequence, but ultimately we found ourselves behind a veritable wall of six footers, and gave up and went to stand at the back for the remainder of the show. So, be warned. The Troxy is lovely, but if you are anything less than 6 foot tall, consider investing in a pair of platforms!

It is a testament to the awesome power of Patti's performance that I would, nevertheless, list this as one of the best shows I have seen this year.

Check out Patti's videos giving a track-by-track explanation of the songs featured on her recent album 'Banga' here: http://www.pattismith.net/
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