A Patti Smith concert recorded this past April at New York’s Electric Lady studios has been released as a Spotify exclusive. Live at Electric Lady features original Smith tunes like “Ghost Dance,” “April Fool,” and “Peaceable Kingdom” along with Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Blame It on the Sun.”
“We are very proud to be part of Spotify’s Live at Electric Lady series, our favorite recording studio,” Smith said in a statement. “It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform. We are grateful to Spotify for their generous support and willingness to present a live performance with all its possibilities of risk and revelation.”
Smith recorded her 1975 debut LP Horses at Electric Lady, and she’s returned there for private and public performances many times over the years. “Prior to recording, I had been discussing cover song options to present to Patti with Tony Shanahan, Patti’s MD and longtime bassist/pianist,” Electric Lady GM/Partner Lee Foster says in a statement. “We’d yet to mention to Patti that we’d hoped to record a cover during the session, so she was unaware at the time.”
“Days went by and Tony and I couldn’t find the right song together,” he continues. “Then, as we’d just begun to agonize over it, he called me excitedly and asked, ‘Is ‘Blame It on the Sun’ from Talking Book [Stevie Wonder’s 1972 album recorded at Electric Lady]?’ I looked quickly to confirm and told him yes. For no reason at all that morning, Patti had texted him to say that the song was stuck in her head and that she wanted the band to learn it. Kismet.”
Smith kept a relatively low public profile throughout much of the pandemic, confining her performances to private, low-key events around New York and New Jersey. But in April, she emerged for a series of acoustic shows at New York’s City Winery and began preparing for a Bob Dylan tribute show in Tivoli, New York, tied to his 70th birthday in May. That’s what inspired her to play “One Too Many Mornings” at the Electric Lady show.
She was supposed to perform “Because The Night” with Bruce Springsteen at Central Park’s We Love NYC Homecoming concert, but the event was rained out before they could take the stage. She returns to Central Park on September 19th for a headlining show that will hopefully be a dryer affair. It’s part of a world tour that will take everywhere from London to Paris to Atlanta, Georgia, and Sydney, Australia, in the coming months.