Patti Smith could be Minimalist Rock's first Great Teen Idol. And why not? She's certainly got all the qualities for decadent superstardom.
Appearing Saturday night at the Warner Theater before a sellout crowd that stood for her entire performance, she demonstrated those qualities.
Amazing Appearance - stringy hair. Sunken eyes. Carefully chosen wardrobe of torn shirts and floppy hats. She was the envy of every disheveled teen in the crowd (and there were many).
Great Material - She included "The Kids Are Alright" by The Who and "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks - two teen rockers par excellence. (Her own songs are plodding and pretentious.)
Strong Back-up Group - Patti's musicians are really cute.With their punky appearance and stage acrobatics, they didn't need to play much (which they didn't, beyond a rudimentary "riffing").
Stupendous Voice - During her set, Patti became hoarse and polled the crowd as to whether she should cancel the show or continue. She continued. There was no perceptible change from the first - her off-key singing was not dampened by the hoarseness.
Snappy Stage Patter - Patti is also a poet. She used phrases like "transmutation of energy" and the "infiltration" of everything, along with a number of four-letter obscenities.
Patti Smith said that she had declined an offer to appear on Don Kirchner's TV show "Rock Concert" (a showcase for all the new teen idols). A pity. That's certainly where she belongs.