top 20 greatest gigs – part 4
Patti Smith CBGBS NEW YORK 1975
The poet priestess emerged from the New York underground in 1975 but would help create the mythic quality around the venue herslef and half the audience at the shows would soon be on the stage themselves turning New York into the ultimate post punk city and kicking off the seventies with a new and urgent kind of rock music.
Whether Patti was the last of hippie agent provocateurs or a new kind of kick for the seventies inventing a kind of punk is a moot point. These shows were key in the fabric of a new scene that would soon spread its influence worldwide with the singer and the band semi improvising their soaring loose osngs that allowed Patti the space to breathlessly intone her poetry and dance the shamanic dance.
Iggy and The Stooges Scala London
Back from the brink the gold trousered Iggy lizard was back to his best with an added glam tinge to his electric rock n roll as he confronted and taunted the audience with a set culled from his about to drop Raw Power moment. Few gigs in history can have this thrilling and it could be squarely argued that all the seeds of the future UK punk movement were sewed right here.
Black Sabbath Marquee 1970
It was the night they changed their name from Earth to Black Sabbath like they were recognising their transition from their sparse and heavy blues into something all together different. The new darker and heavier music would provide the template for one of the world’s most enduring and popular musics and turn the band into one of the most important groups of all time.
Kate Bush- one and only tour 1979
Kate Bush arrived in the middle of punk but somehow it didn’t feel wrong- her one and only tour she did after she made it was a wondrous combination of theatrics, ballet, mime and dressing up in costumes- it was an amazing experience and no wonder she didn’t want to do it again! somehow she retained all her mystique and the performances of the songs are like nothing else- with each song becoming a fantasy world of its own and their subtle layers not being ruined by the live arena- it’s a shame she will never go on the road again but her live influence is still being felt by the likes of Florence And The Machine.
White Stripes Blackpool Empress Ballroom
It’s quite fitting that the greatest venue in the UK is mentioned twice in this list as its ambience and atmosphere really adds tot he classic gigs there. The WHite Stripes loved the venue so much that they recorded a live DVD there and it caught them at their best with that curious and brilliant tensions between Jack and Meg balancing the group as they changed the whole notion of what band is from ‘4 boys against the world’ to a man and a woman, brother/ sister, lovers, husband and wife or just two people playing music- it was bad news for bass guitar players but proof that minimalism is always the winner in rock n roil. The songs dripped rock n roll from Jack’s great guitar playing to his perfect yelping vocals and we driven by the diminutive Meg whose drumming was perfect.