When: May 6-7, 8 p.m. 2013
Mon 5/6 sold out; tickets available for Tue 5/7.
In the fascinating liner notes to her latest album, Banga (Columbia), Patti Smith details the four-year journey that produced it, during which she also wrote her fantastic memoir Just Kids and acted in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, among other things—for me the notes rival the music. The multitude of ideas and inspirations that she and her collaborators have pieced together into these songs include travel (a Mediterranean cruise for a Jean-Luc Godard film shoot, trips to Puerto Rico and Italy), books (Bulgakov, Gogol), and current events (the Tohuko earthquake, the death of Amy Winehouse). It’s not Smith’s greatest work, and it’s even more contemplative and hypnotic than usual, but few living artists can compete with the magnitude of her presence—even when she’s speaking over somewhat shapeless backing, as on “Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter),” which borrows from Sun Ra, she’s so compelling the music is almost irrelevant. Plus of course Smith won’t restrict herself to material from the new record for these shows—and she remains one of the greatest live performers on earth. —Peter Margasak