OVATION: Patti Smith conjuring the magic of her seminal album
OVATION: Patti Smith conjuring the magic of her seminal album "Horses" Cathy Adams

Bluesfest Day 1: Standing ovation for Patti Smith

AFTER apologising profusely and graciously about her voice, affected by the strenuous pace of her Australian tour, American poet and singer songwriter Patti Smith received a standing ovation from Bluesfest audiences on the first night of the festival.

Patti Smith spits the blues at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.
Patti Smith spits the blues at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay. Cathy Adams

In a reaction rarely seen at Bluesfest, thousands of people got off their chairs and thanked the artist for her performance.

Smith performed her debut album, Horses, in her first Bluesfest show last night.

Horses, released December 1975, fused rock and roll structures and Smith's free-form, Beat poetry-infused lyrics, and received widespread critical acclaim.

Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.
Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay. Cathy Adams

Horses has been hailed by music critics as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of the American punk rock movement, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time.

So fans of Smith and punk rock received the performance of the artist with an amount of love Smith was probably not expecting.

Patti Smith, 70, offered a rendition so full of passion, so elegant in its free-form poetry, that was arguably the most enthralling performance by a female artist at Bluesfest Byron Bay since Grace Jones in 2011.

Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.
Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay. Cathy Adams

While Smith was gracing Baby Boomers and fans of younger age at Mojo stage, at Crossroads, hip hop legend Nas was slaying track after track in a show that should make the most difficult urban music fans more than happy.

Nas was not just playing his old hits, but putting new remixes and new inflexions on his songs that made them sound fresh, new and even better live.

At Jambalaya, St Paul and the Broken Bones, the gospel / soul band from Alabama, was repeating the miracle they witnessed last year at Bluesfest.

Armed with a new album, Sea of Noise, the band not only mixed old and new hits, but also offered their own rendition of Eventually, by Tame Impala.

Other artists that brought old and new songs to the Bluesfest stages were Gallant, Vintage Trouble, Trombone Shorty, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mavis Staples, Melody Angel and Dumpstaphunk, among others.

SUNNY: Bluesfest Byron Bay enjoyed mostly dry weather on the first day of the 2017 festival.
SUNNY: Bluesfest Byron Bay enjoyed mostly dry weather on the first day of the 2017 festival. Javier Encalada

Friday schedule

Highights of today's line up are:

  • R'n'B diva Mary J Blige at Mojo from 10pm.
  • American band The Lumineers at Crossroads from 10.45pm.
  • Gregory Porter at Crossroads from 8pm.
  • Jimmy Buffet Crossroads from 6.45pm.
  • Patti Smith (acoustic set) at Crossroads from 5.15pm.
  • Australian artist Yirrmal at Boomerang (Juke Joint) from 1pm.


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