July 18, 2015
I suppose that I could try to explain the thrill of the first piano chords of Gloria, while Patti slowly slurs “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” — an anticipation of a long build-up which explodes like an angry orgasm five minutes later, complete with all the tender moments, false warnings and crescendos that almost get there but need to be reined in for the sake of the final blast.
The catch is precisely that by trying to do so I’d end up killing my own memory of that rush and I don’t want to relinquish any part of it.
Not the sweaty jumping around next to a potential girl-friend at some high school party and not the yelling of the lyrics at the top of my lungs with a sense of freedom that only a teenager can hope to achieve in the process of defining the cornerstones of his musical fabric.
I could never appropriately describe Lenny Kaye’s focused and intense presence on stage, not Jay Dee Daugherty’s precise, powerful and agile drumming which marked me forever, but especially not Patti’s luminescence, raw, angry and mischievous, punctuating what was to me a sonic revelation with chosen bits of beat- and 19th century french poetry, a surprisingly fitting combination on the first punk rock concert I ever attended. And I use the term “punk rock” very very loosely here since she was then already so much more than that.
It is confusing to me that she should have become famous for the song Because the Night (which is technically Bruce Springsteen’s and the 3 minute predictable pop-song structure shows) on what I consider to be one of her weakest albums, Easter ( I refuse to discuss Wave for reasons that should be obvious.) Curiously enough it is precisely on Easter that she and the band achieve something of almost Gloria greatness: Babelogue/Rock’n Roll Nigger is both monumental and monumentally ignored and the only reason I own that record in the first place.
It is because of all this that I don’t want to go back in time and in the process destroy my teenage self (or at least those parts which would conceivably be worth preserving.) I’ll keep on believing that both Horses and Radio Ethiopia were composed and produced specifically with the purpose of giving me a soundtrack to those years of my life.
The best I can do is this: