Patti Smith plays the Granada Theatre (Jan. 27, 2015)..

Paul Wellman

Patti Smith plays the Granada Theatre (Jan. 27, 2015)..

Patti Smith at the Granada Theatre

Punk’s Pioneer Thoroughly Rocked Her Santa Barbara Tour Stop

A living legend with an illustrious career, punk priestess Patti Smith let her growly, rich vocals resonate throughout the Granada Theatre on Tuesday evening. With her band in tow, Smith belted numbers like “Redondo Beach,” off of her 1975 debut, and performed a cover of young songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Stable Song.” Donning a loosely fitted pair of jeans and a black blazer, Smith was a prime example of why you can be “cool” at any age. The original hipster, her slim frame and youthful energy proved she’s been partying the right way for years. Oscillating between numbers like “This Is the Girl,” which dedicated to Amy Winehouse, and an empowering rendition of “Gandhi,” Smith had people swaying and unable to stay in their seats. The enamored crowd, which ranged from twenty-something hippie girls to couples well past retirement age, was a testament to Smith’s iconic stature, as well as her staying power.

A beacon of feminist strength, Smith’s tough girl exterior and signature whiskey dipped, spoken-word lyrics floated through the venue, proving that sometimes things do get better with age. Playing songs that highlighted her 40-plus-year career, Smith was interactive with the audience, even getting off the stage and dancing along with the crowd while her band — including S.B. loc and longtime Smith drummer JD Daugherty — held down the fort. As the night drew on, she met audience outbursts with sassy, yet warm replies, seeming to genuinely enjoying the mood. She offered up solid one-and-a-half hour set, sans opener, and made it very clear that her raw prowess as a performer has not been ravaged by time in the slightest.

During a vocal break, her guitarist mentioned it was “the summer of love” and proceeded to play “Seven and Seven Is,” which provided an interlude into tracks off of Outside Society, and what is arguably Smith’s most popular song, “Because the Night.”

After the show, people flocked to pick up signed copies of Just Kids, Smith’s best-selling 2010 memoir about her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Still, most of us knew that no book or t-shirt or tote bag could really encapsulate the electric stage presence and brazen demeanor witnessed on Tuesday night. For those who doubted, Smith’s not showing any signs of slowing down. And for our sake, thank goodness.

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