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Photo Gallery: Patti Smith at Metro • Chicago

| May 6, 2022

Patti Smith
Chicago, IL
May 4, 2022

Recap and photos by Curt Baran

Chicago is privileged to have countless music venues that are worshipped by fans on both the local and national levels. Arguably, none is more venerable than Metro. The Wrigleyville institution celebrates its fourth decade this year and its history is undeniable. If you play the venue as an up-and-coming band, it means that your star is on the rise. But Metro has also hosted countless luminaries (Bob Dylan, Prince, Foo Fighters, and Metallica, just to name a few), who chose to return there as not only a way of thanking owner Joe Shanahan for his support, but as a way of fortifying just how influential the venue has been. Oddly enough, one such legend in Patti Smith had NEVER played that space.

Fortunately, this was greatly remedied this past week when the New York, punk rock iconoclast helped the former Cabaret Metro celebrate its 40th Anniversary with a performance that felt instantly historic. Those in attendance witnessed Smith deliver an impassioned set that was filled with empathy, intensity, humanity, and humor. In short, what anyone has come to expect from her, but all somehow amplified and magnified by the intimate and combustive space that makes Metro so special. Shanahan preceded the performance with some remarks about what Smith has meant to him, recalling seeing her perform at Park West, another gift to Chicago’s live music landscape back that was founded as a nightclub in 1978.

She apparently mentioned from the stage that evening that she’d heard one of the city’s earliest punk clubs (Le Mere Vipere), that Shanahan was coincidently involved with, had recently burned down. “So your club burned down?!? Start another one!” Fortunately for Metro and its enduring importance, one gentleman in the audience that night heard her with zero distortion.


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