Finally the storm broke out, the north wind was unleashed, enough rain fell to purify the atmosphere and Patti Smith appeared to give thanks to heaven, remind us of the power we have and make us feel united and happy in a wonderful concert that will be remembered for long time as the referent of this edition. A crown of red crowns surrounding the battery and two Ukrainian flags were already a declaration of intent for what was to come, and it was better than we expected.
Hugs, sweat and beer at the inauguration of Azkena Rock
Patti Smith achieved that magic, that communication that only the most sincere, honest and committed artists can achieve with the public. With a clear, powerful, crisp voice, declaiming each of his words, which even those who did not know English understood, he offered a performance in which he could not hold back his tears as he watched from the stage the impressive sight of more than twenty thousand people. reunited, twinned before that indescribable emotion that supposes to share an act of poetic and musical vindication. Vindication of life, of the planet, of the future, “the future is yours and the future is now, said Patti, it is wonderful to see the creative force that you emanate”.
She recited Allen Ginsberg’s Holy poem with rage and youthful strength, dedicated Dylan’s song One Too Many Mornings to her friend Emmylou Harris, recalled that Paul McCartney was turning 80 that night and, while taking a short break, let her musicians , including his son Jackson and his inseparable since 1971 Lenny Kaye, will play Helter skelter and I wanna be your dog by Iggy Pop.
Memories of her husband Fred “Sonic” Smith were not lacking at the beginning of Because the night, nor did she forget “Gloria” singing in chorus for the thousands of attendees to end by inviting Emmylou Harris to accompany her to sing People have the power before the delirium and ecstasy of the public.
Shortly before Emmylou herself, she had offered an exquisite concert, with a confidence and security in her vocal capacity that allowed her to sing a cappella with her musicians. Electric and acoustic guitars, violin, drums, double bass, mandolin, keyboards and accordion sounded at some point to interpret a varied stylistic collection of her wide repertoire. Very close and communicative, Harris thanked the massive presence of fans after the hard times of the pandemic.
Suzi Quatro completed the female poster of stars of this last day. Her concert had nothing to do with that of her companions, and there’s no need, at Azkena there is room for everything and maximum respect for Suzi, who has been playing since she was 14 years old and has been a benchmark for women like Patti herself. His thing is a show, go go choristers, horn section, careful lighting, yes, just for a voice. She finished with her classic Can the Can.
For the rest, we highlight Israel Nash, the Dutch Dewolf, the psychedelic Black Mountain despite some sound problems, and the great surprise of the Canadians Daniel Romano’s Quartet with the overwhelming presence of Julie Doiron.
More than satisfactory balance of this edition of the reunion that has been on the verge of breaking attendance records and has surpassed it in number of campers (3,200) and children (800). The almost perfect organization, the incredible sound and video screens, the extraordinary atmosphere as always, the friendly and patient people in the queues, and willing to repeat next year, which will be held on June 15, 16 and 17, 2023.
Long live the Azkena Rock Festival