As if August wasn’t already hot enough in the South of France, the legendary American singer/songwriter will be cranking up the heat a few more notches in Nice and Marseille

It’s not usually polite to mention a lady’s age. But Patti Smith ain’t no lady, and she is damn proud to still be rocking it up at age 72. The indestructible music icon from the era of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, or Paul McCartney is still a powerhouse that just gets better with time. She is currently on yet another world tour and will be hitting Marseille on 19 August and Nice on 20 August. And already tickets are flying off the shelves.

The term “legend” is frequently overused but if a singer’s career bridges at least three generations and is still going as strong as ever, it is justified. Who hasn’t danced to “Because the Night”, sung along with “Gloria”, shaken their fist to “People have the Power”, or swooned over “Break it Up”? A huge part of Patti Smith’s appeal is her ability to distil an immense variety of musical styles – jazz, blues, garage rock, electro, pop, reggae, doo-wop, and even ecclesiastic music – into her “punk poet” signature where everyone finds themselves represented.

But beyond being a prolific musician, Patti Smith is a truly pluridisciplinary artist, a poet, a photographer, and a book author. In fact she sees herself a writer first and foremost, and one with a predilection for French classics and culture. “Since childhood, it was my dream to go where all the poets and artists had been. Rimbaud, Artaud, Brancusi, Camus, Picasso, Bresson, Goddard, Jeanne Moreau, Juliette Greco, everybody – Paris for me was a Mecca,” she once famously stated. And France returns that love in equal measure, having named her a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in 2005 in recognition of her significant contributions to these fields.

Throughout her career Patti Smith has also continuously been a political activist, focusing increasingly on climate change in recent years. One of the projects she spearheads – along with daughter Jesse Paris Smith – is Pathway to Paris, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to encourage collaboration “between musicians, artists, sustainability consultants, cities and activists to highlight solutions to climate change.”

Patti Smith still has boundless energy and the charisma to set yet another generation on fire. On this current world tour, she presents of course her chart busters but she also narrates episodes from her rich life, reads excerpts from her book, and educates on social issues, all based on the accumulated wisdom experience of seven decades on earth, with five of them in showbiz. Do not miss this unstoppable American phenomenon and much-needed critical voice in a world that is increasingly devoid of values and convictions.

Marseille – 19 August at 9 pm, Théâtre Silvain

Nice – 20 August at 9 pm, Théâtre de Verdure

 

another grey line

Lead image by Fabio Venni from Florence – Originally posted to Flickr as Patti Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link (edited – cropped)

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