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"It's Hard To Find Oatmeal In Italy" - Deep Thoughts by Patti Smith @ The Santa Monica Pier - 8/16/07

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Bluesy, smokey, growly, and deep -- Patti Smith the original She-punk poet, commanded the Santa Monica Pier last Thursday night. Her voice was clear and the sound was fantastical. Her stage banter was absurd and somewhat drowned out by the rumblings of the mostly parental type fans in attendance. I’m pretty sure there was talk of tacos, but I’m definitely sure there was discussion of oatmeal. Patti thought she was at a festival, but hey, it was outside.

The crowd was dense and rapt and spread from the stage out, over and back to the rides. There was also an expansive sand contingent on blankets just below the pier. I was completely fixated on their lights. How did they all know to bring lights? And why did they all have the same paper bag lantern thing going on? Is this a Santa Monica tradition? Did the pier promoters lay these out on the sand? Is there a candle-in-a-bag craft movement that has eluded me? I could hardly focus on anything else.

The energy did not quite match the magic and legacy of Patti Smith at the Roxy but she carried on valiantly with the covers project. Highlights included Gloria, White Rabbit, Soul Kitchen, Because The Night, and Gimme Shelter. Gimme Shelter? Gimme Mick. Rock and roll me til I’m sick.