Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

Spending Two Hours with The Real Stuff

Thanks to pirates_daily I got to go to a more or less intimate Patti Smith gig this evening - maybe a couple of hundred people in a Central London church for about an hour and three quarters. She read some poems and did some of her own songs,like 'Soul Kitchen' and covers of various other peoples - 'Perfect Day' and 'Within you. without you'. And she riffed verbally between the poems and the songs about her obsession with Jo March and her private cult of John Paul 1. I have been to Smith gigs where I jumped up and down more, and where she played good ol' standards that I love most of all her work - but you could hardly sing 'Gloria' in church, could you?

The thing is, this gig reminded me of why the current Pope hates rock music so much and regards it as a dangerous rival to traditional spirituality. Like much of the best music, this took me out of myself into oceanic feeling and sheer pleasure and a sense of the rhythm of how things are without faith and without dogma. I felt love for the people around me - I remember how Springsteen once said at a gig that he could not offer us life everlasting, but he could offer us life right now, and proceeded to keep that promise. Music gives us a sense of shared experience - that's true when it is recorded but is even truer when it is live.

There is a Schubert song, setting verses that are mediocre but true, and the song is one of the most beautiful he ever wrote.

'Thou lovely art/In how many grey hours..../have you bathed my heart in warmer air/ taken me into a better world'

I write these words and am listening to Tom Waits at the same time - 'Looking for the heart of Saturday night'sung by Holly Cole. Truely Music is the broadest church there is, one which looks after my soul without trying to own it.
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