Friday Night Concert: Patti Smith on Rockpalast TV, Germany 1979

Travel back in time with us to the pre-cable and VCR days when rock bands could only ever be briefly glimpsed on TV on Friday nights, and if you were lucky, you might get to see a full show by a great band. Every week, I will be posting the kind of show that would have made me excited to stay up past 11, at some time between 1976 and 1984. So have a cup of coffee, eat some sugar, connect the audio output of your TV to your hi-fi system and play this Youtube video LOUD!

This is a great, career-spanning set from the Wave-era Patti Smith Group, filmed for German TV program Rockpalast in the spring of 1979. It would turn out to be her last tour before stepping away from the stage from nearly two decades. I saw her in Passaic, NJ on the same tour, and that show basically made her into one of my punk heroes.

But having missed that one episode of SNL in 1976, I only remember seeing her on television during her seventies prime once – on a children’s’ Sunday morning show called Kids Are People Too, singing “You Light Up My Life” with the guy who wrote it. Watching this in 1979 was downright bizarre, for somebody who’d already seen her chaotic “My Generation” encore in the flesh. Of course she had been great on SNL real early on but I didn’t see that clip till many years later.


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