Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin
With doors opening at 6:30pm, and a scheduled 7:30pm show time, it was a nice surprise to see musicians take the stage early – at about 7:20pm – at Montreal’s Bell Centre. Neil Young had added a third (previously unannounced) act – or an act to open for Patti Smith. And Toronto’s the Sadies were fine in their role, but everybody was really there anticipating Patti and Neil.
Patti Smith was at a definite disadvantage for her set. Neil had four huge – and I mean really huge – faux shipping cases positioned across the stage. The Patti Smith Group had to set up and perform in front of those, so their space on stage was limited. Two retro-looking large screen TV monitors were hung up high on each side of the stage, but they were dark for Patti’s set. Patti played much from her great new album Banga, with other nuggets mixed in. Unfortunately, she did not command the large room like Neil & Crazy Horse eventually would.