Amazing, forgotten Patti Smith Group show with Iggy, David Johansen & others (but no Patti), 1977
On March 9th, 1977, members of the Patti Smith Group played an incredible yet little-known gig. A recent accident had sidelined Smith, and it’s likely the guys in Patti’s band did this show (and at least one other at the same venue) in order to both stay active and make a few bucks while Smith was temporarily out of commission. A slew of special guests appeared with them over the course of the March 9th performance—and we have the audio.
At the time, Smith was recovering from an incident that transpired during a January 26th concert in Tampa. She was seriously injured when, failing to see a monitor on the dark stage, she tumbled over it into the orchestra pit, falling fifteen feet before landing on the concrete floor. She reportedly suffered broken bones in her face, cracked vertebrae in her neck, and required stitches to close head wounds. Yikes, right? Though it could have been a lot worse, Patti obviously still needed time to heal.
The March 1977 Patti Smith Group shows without Patti took place at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club in New York City. The establishment was partly owned by Mickey Ruskin, the founder of legendary hangout, Max’s Kansas City.
L-R: John Cale, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and David Byrne at the Ocean Club, July 1976 (photo by Bob Gruen).
The core of the band—billed simply as “The Group”—was comprised of Smith mainstays Lenny Kaye (vocals/guitar), Ivan Kral (vocals/guitar), and Jay Dee Daugherty (drums). The March 9th guests included the Paley Brothers (Andy Paley was in Patti’s band for a short spell); reggae figures Tapper Zukie and Linval Thompson; session guitarist Elliott Randall; and current Patti Smith Group bassist Leigh Foxx. Audience members David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Brian Eno stopped by the Ocean Club together, with Iggy eventually jumping up to sing “96 Tears.” At one point, Pop breaks into “Scene of the Crime,” a then-unreleased Stooges song—how cool is that?
L-R: Iggy Pop, Cyrinda Fox, David Bowie, and Lisa Robinson at the Ocean Club, March 1977 (photo by Bob Gruen).
Another highlight, after a bumpy start, is a lively, ‘60s garage rock-style rendition of “Pills,” with David Johansen on vocals and harp. The set is nearly all covers, save one Patti Smith song, the reggae-tinged Radio Ethiopia track “Ain’t It Strange,” with Tapper Zukie toasting over it. You’ll also hear ripping versions of “It’s All Over Now” and “Goin’ Down,” both featuring Leigh Foxx. Those in attendance are frequently boisterous—obviously excited by what they are witnessing. At the end of the evening, it’s announced “The Group” will be back on March 10th, but there’s very little information online about this subsequent date, and it’s unclear if any of their special guests returned for night two.
01. The Kids Are Alright
02. You Really Got Me
03. No Jestering
04. Parachute Woman [w/David Johansen on harp]
05. Pills [includes false start – w/David Johansen]
06. Some Kinda Wonderful [w/Elliott Randall]
07. Route 66 [w/Elliott Randall]
08. The Worst That Could Happen
09. Ain’t It Strange (toasting version) [w/Tapper Zukie]
10. One More Chance [two attempts – w/Linval Thompson]
11. Gimme Some Lovin’
12. 96 Tears/Scene of the Crime [w/Iggy Pop]
13. “Get well, Patti”
14. It’s All Over Now [w/Leigh Foxx]
15. I Can’t Explain [Jay Dee – lead vocal & guitar]
16. A Certain Girl [w/Jonathan Paley]
17. Goin’ Down [w/Leigh Foxx]
Even with her injuries, Patti couldn’t be kept from the stage for long, and a Patti Smith Group gig at CBGB on April 10th marked her return. The Easter Sunday show was advertised as “La Resurrection,” with the subtitle, “Out of Traction, Back in Action.”
The Patti Smith Group, CBGB, 1977 (note Patti’‘s wearing a neck brace).