Bucket list

Bucket list.  It’s a term I hear a lot these days, as I am attuned to it through circumstance.  There’s even a bucket list festival put on by the Cancer Clinic where I hang out more than I like.

I’m not so sure about the concept.  On the one hand there’s the idea of ‘list’, which suggests life can be reduced to a list of things to tick off and then it’s done.  Not my kind of thing.

On the other hand there’s the bucket.  It’s a certain size.  It contains so much but never quite enough.  And if you don’t work it, it stays empty.  That I get more than ever.

So at the coffee shop last Friday I pick up the LA paper and in the listings the first entry is ‘Patti Smith Group at the Wiltern, 8 PM’.

It’s 11 AM, the Wiltern is at least 2 hours away, down the number 10 – the ugliest freeway in the world.

That’s 2 hours there and 2 hours back on the ugliest freeway in the world.  Oh well, maybe next time, I think.  And then immediately I say to myself  ‘Who am I kidding?  What next time?’

So I hustle home, get on the internet, buy tickets and tell my friends, “road trip to LA.”

The drive was fine.  Only one major jam and one missed off ramp that meant a dodgy detour through downtown LA, then back on Wilshire straight to the Wiltern just past McArthur Park – where the cake was left out in the rain.

It was my first time at the Wiltern, a lovely venue, all art deco and grand in a slightly seedy kind of way.  There was no opening act and Smith and her four piece band took the stage pretty close to 9, opening with a slightly ragged and bouncy Kimberley.  Nice.

Have I mentioned how much I like Patti Smith?  I have a few records that I’ve worn out – gone through four or five copies, wearing the grooves down to nothing.  Horses is one, along with Exile on Main Street, Blood on the Tracks and London’s Calling.

Second song was a favourite off the new record – April Fool.  A great sexy love song with a sweet Tom Verlaine solo.  And then everything started to flow – great new songs like Fuji-san, old sexual incantations like Gloria, ruminations on death and love like Maria off the new album and Dancing Barefoot off an earlier one.

Two hours and not one bad song, plus good stories, advice and exhortation and Flea and Johnny Depp playing out Rock and Roll Nigger to close the show.

Seeing Patti Smith may have been on my bucket list, but ticked or not it will never come off.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Bucket list

  1. Way to go Ian…. just do it and don’t regret it.

    Guy in Victoria

  2. brent granby says:

    Sweet, thanks for posting this. Thanks for all the political analysis too.

  3. Grant G says:

    Ah indeed Mr. Reid….As my father used to say..

    “There are no guarantees of another sunrise, only a sunset”

    In other words, make hay while the sun shines.

    Rock on Ian…

    Good Day

  4. RossK says:

    Sounds like there was a whole lot of leaning on parking meters happening.



  5. Shelley says:

    …I’m not a Patti Smith fan – but the cosmic beauty of opening a coffee shop newspaper to find one of the greats is playing near you…..well, that message is just too loud to ignore. Glad you went. Even gladder it was great. Hope you went to a diner on your way home.

  6. Burgess says:

    Wow! Well done. Follow one’s heart and don’t put off anything. Regret is soul destroying.

  7. kootcoot says:

    One of my great regrets was years ago when I refused to go with or drive my friends to L.A. to see John Coltrane perform after hours at the Adams-West, because I was busy chasing a girl in Santa Barbara that night. Unfortunately Coltrane died not long afterward and I never had another chance to see him.

    My friends were virtually the only white folks in the auditorium , sat in the first row and watched Coltrane and his last band, with his wife and Pharaoh Sanders play from shortly after midnight (after a more uptown gig) till long after sunrise……………….I also really wish I had at least once caught the classic JC Quartet with Elvin, Jimmy and McCoy….but I’ve listened to them enough to almost compensate for that lack.

  8. Ray Blessin says:

    Keep on keepin’ on Ian. Missed you.

  9. Scotty on Denman says:

    Best use of the word “never” ever.

    “The bucket’s not empty, it’s full…” —Prof. Julius Sumner, Hilarious House of Frankenstein.

  10. Catherine Reid says:

    Ian, it was late July when you wrote this blog bit:

    ‘… Have I mentioned that I worship Patti Smith? Is that too strong a word – worship? I don’t think so.

    I can remember buying Horses when it came out. I had just turned 21 and I bought the NME and Trouser Press when I could. I read the Village Voice. I knew about Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell and CBGB’s. I loved the Ramones and tolerated the Dead Boys.

    But nothing came close to Patti Smith. How could I not fall in love with that nasal Jersey voice drawling the best opening line of any record before or since as her way into Van Morrison’s Gloria? Gloria, who she left at the end of the song, “humping on the parking meter, leaning on the parking meter”?

    Earlier this year I read Love goes to Buildings on Fire, Will Hermes book about the NYC music scene in the early seventies. The book gets it’s title from the great early Talking Head’s single and describes not only the birth of punk rock but also rap, new latin and salsa and the loft jazz scene.

    All in one city, in a span of four or five years – just like London in ’65 and ’66. There’s been nothing like it since.

    In the middle of it all was Patti Smith channeling the Whitman/Blake muse through guitars, a drum set, the bass and two chords.

    This one’s for my eldest, who has two magnificent lines from Horses carefully tattooed at the nape of her neck.’

    Some things are just meant to be. Planning to tat your neck?

  11. RossK says:


    Regarding Ms. Smith….

    I had the same (then still) teenaged reaction to Ms. Smith and got to her in the same pre-interwebz way(s) which were so much more time consuming, but somehow so much more fun because of the way the discoveries happened…I also had the same visceral response to the first album and, especially, those theme-changing extra lines at the end of her interpretation of Gloria…

    Regarding that period – you may also want to try and find Legs McNeil’s book ‘Please Kill Me!

  12. Marie says:

    How did I miss this news, Ian? Way to go!
    Patti Smith live would be a dream come true for me too.
    It’s great you didn’t let a 2 hour ugly drive stop you from experiencing that joy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *