Patti Smithís Bertolt Brecht
Kurt Weillís music for Bertolt Brecht is celebrated every ten years or so.
Mrs Monk noticed that her new big thing, Antony from Antony and the Johnson's, was on the bill for Patti Smithís Meltdown Brecht tribute concert. Tickets were secured albeit three rows from the back and with virtually no appreciable view of anything. But we heard it all right.
Antonyís version of Surabaya Jonny, was emotionally charged, Martha Wainwright took on a technically difficult Sailorís Tango with confidence and ease. (I take it all back Martha) Marc Almond was certainly the most charismatic performer (What Keeps Man Alive) The Finn Brothers disappointed. The highlight was perhaps the Tiger Lillies with their hilarious theatricality which was most appropriate in a Brechtian context. Brecht is smiling.
Question: If things go wrong, what should a performer do?
David Thomas of Pere Ubu was charged with a rendition of the Alabama Song. I was convinced that his vocals were deliberately distorted because he is that kind of guy and since the London Sinfonietta kept on playing regardless. After the interval they did the same number again, but I (and much of the audience) preferred the first accidental version. Ironic calls for an encore were heard.
When Patti Smith stumbled over Mack the Knife, however she stopped the entire orchestra with great authority and started it over again, and then missed a verse and then filled in the plot with some improvisation. Brecht would certainly have applauded her anarchy and I was charmed, but Mrs Monk was less sympathetic, and reminded me of how much we had paid for the tickets.
Note for future: keep an eye out for the Tiger Lilies.