Perhaps you're like me. Back in 1975, you picked up a copy of Horses and were astonished to hear the first chords and lyrics for "Gloria." "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." In very short order, you knew you were hearing a voice you'd be paying attention to for some time to come.
Thirty years later, it was quite evident Patti Smith had indeed built a distinctive legacy and an appreciative audience when she and her band took to the stage in Montreux on July 3, 2005 to support their 2004 album, Trampin'. Sadly, for this listener, she didn't perform "Gloria" that night. But, as demonstrated on Live at Montreux 2005, the spirit of Horses was there even before the band struck up "Redondo Beach." You can see it as Patti stands behind the mic wearing the same androgynous outfit she'd worn on her debut album cover in that iconic photo shot by Robert Mapplethorpe.
The three decades of the Patti Smith Group is also demonstrated by the musicians who have remained a vital part of her artistic continuity. Lenny Kaye (guitar & vocals) and Jay Dee Daugherty (drums) have been with Smith since Horses and share many co-writing credits with her. Tony Shanahan (bass, keyboards and vocals) has been in the band since 1996. The only player to appear at Montreux with a short tenure was Television's Tom Verlaine on guitar, and he departed shortly thereafter.
Of course, the Montreux setlist also drew from Smith's long canon of recordings. Smith sings the very raw and primitive "Ain’t It Strange" from Radio Ethiopia (1976) and delivers a straightforward rendition of her 1978 hit, "Because the Night," the song she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen. From 1979's Wave, we get the psychedelic Velvet Underground-flavored jam, "Dancing Barefoot." From the same album, Smith brings out her squawking clarinet for "7 Ways Of Going," which she dedicated to jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. "Beneath The Southern Cross" originally appeared on Gone Again, the 1996 album which mourned a number of close friends and partners in Smith's life. The concert's closer is appropriately the 1988 anthem "People Have the Power" from Dream of Life where, again, Smith pays homage to jazz giants like Miles Davis and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.