The reason that a new book promotion event at a bookstore is included in this concert review section…it’s because the author sang a few songs during the event. And the author was…Patti Smith!
It was a coincident to find out about the book event. My radar was totally zero. I went to Barnes & Noble in Union Square to find books for upcoming music trip series after previous Patti Smith series on this website (What is it? Secret!). When I arrived at the large bookstore, I found out Patti Smith would make a special appearance for her new book, “Devotion”, later that evening. I definitely needed to go! I bought “Devotion” as a ticket to the seat.
Patti Smith showed up to the stage about 30 minutes after scheduled 7:00 p.m.
Before she was an author or what purpose was to be at the bookstore, Patti Smith was still a Rock Star. Punk queen. Period. The charisma radiated from Patti Smith with sunglasses and black pants suit was maximum from the beginning. Patti’s aura wasn’t laid back unlike her talks during the event or recent friendly photos. She didn’t shout. She didn’t do anything special when she came to the stage, either. But Patti’s appearance was simply sharp. She knocked us out immediately. Truly goddess.
Patti started talking about her busy schedule on that day. From a hectic trip back from Washington D.C. by delayed Amtrak, attendance at United Nations, hence she had no time to change her outfit and still same black suit since morning, etc. Then she talked about “Devotion”, including the background of her latest book and reading some portions like a poetry called “Ashford”. Her talk was with a lot of humor and jokes as well as wit.
Patti’s talk about her new book was definitely caught the attention from her fans filled the fourth floor entire an hour. Honestly, that event’s highlight was definitely when she sang. Patti Smith sang three songs during the book event: “Devoted to You” by The Everly Brothers (though I’m not sure which version she sang, The Everly Brothers or Carly Simon), Patti’s “Beneath The Southern Cross” from Gone Again album with her acoustic guitar, and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.
No matter she used the thin podium microphone, not the strong concert microphone, took a few mistakes about the lyrics or didn’t use anything electric, time stopped when she sang. Patti’s voice power to catch the audience into her world was extra strong. It would be unsuitable to talk about Patti’s vocal from the technical side. Indeed, Patti’s voice was powerful, stable, and emotional in the event, but her voice surpassed those cheap facts. Her voice had stunning charisma and persona that addicted many fans through her 42 years professional career even on the small podium stage at a bookstore. It wasn’t a full live performance at a concert venue but definitely the moment to be satisfied by the art of her music world. That was why this “discussion/signing” event was on the concert review section. Definitely, a valuable live performance event that nobody could imitate.
There were reasons Patti Smith sang those three songs. You can imagine about “Devoted to You” from the title of her new book. Regarding “Beneath The Southern Cross”, Patti explained that she thought it would be a nice idea to sing it when she visited a synagogue in Washington D.C. for the previous book event, as well as a tribute to Sam Shepard, a playwright and her ex, who died on July 27. On Q&A session, Patti declined to comment on a question from an attendance about the death of Sam Shepard but instead sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for her answer.
I don’t rate the event because that was not a concert. But Patti Smith spread her unchanged radical thrills as a rock artist at the book event.
READ “NEW YORK MUSIC TRIP/PATTI SMITH” SERIES!
- NEW YORK MUSIC TRIP/PATTI SMITH #1 OF 3: Dream of Life
- NEW YORK MUSIC TRIP/PATTI SMITH #2 OF 3: Latitude 23
- NEW YORK MUSIC TRIP/PATTI SMITH #3 OF 3: Radio Underground
PATTI SMITH’S LATEST BOOK, “DEVOTION”