Patti Smith in near-miss stage fall

Proto-punk icon injures elbow at Shepherd's Bush show

New York punk poet Patti Smith took a tumble while playing live at the weekend (October 21), narrowly missing the edge of the stage at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Smith, 60, was in the capital performing one of her Rock N Rimbaud gigs, dedicated to the poet Arthur Rimbaud, when, during a fiery encore of ‘Rock N Roll Nigger’, she tripped on a speaker and fell flat on her face, cutting her elbow.

Despite not getting up for a few agonising seconds, the singer finally rose to loud cheers, humorously following the fall with a speech about “not losing your balance” in life.


She then gave the speaker a kick in retaliation.

“I’m not even fucking embarrassed because I’ve done far worse,” Smith laughed. “May [guitars] be the only weapons we use, may tripping up be the only humiliations we suffer, and may these [pointing to her scuffed elbow] be the only battle scars.”

Earlier, Smith‘s set had included favourites like ‘Horses’, ‘Gloria’, ‘We Three’ – which she dedicated to Television leader Tom Verlaine [who she admitted to lusting after at CBGBs] – and ‘Because The Night’.

She also sang blistering covers of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Jimi Hendrix‘s classic ‘Are You Experienced’ and The Rolling Stones’ anthem ‘Gimme Shelter’.

Patti Smith was joined by guitarist Lenny Kaye, who she performed with at her first ever Rock N Rimbaud gig in New York in 1971.