When Patti Smith was awarded the Swedish Polar Music prize in 2011, her song Dancing Barefoot was sung by two up and coming sisters from the suburbs of Stockholm who go by the name First Aid Kit.
The incantatory power of that song gets me every time, but I wonder what Patti is thinking. Her visage is stern, but it’s hard to believe she is being hypercritical at that point. And by the end she too seems caught up in the power of her song and the loveliness of the harmonies and then the audaciousness of the poetic recitation (and maybe the length of her history, at this point).
The incantatory power of Dancing Barefoot bubbles up in this clip from Rockpalast TV in 1979, too. I’ve watched many Rockpalast TV clips and don’t recall being aware of the audience, particularly, but in this churning version of the song, which wouldn’t be out of place at a Quicksilver Messenger Service show, the audience suddenly breaks through and Patti has to handle the mess, and she does. It is very strange theater that comes with a terrific vocal performance and her very solid band. Plus, she blesses the pope!