Pathway to Paris (photo: Ria Burman)
First up were performances from Jesse Paris Smith and Jessica Foon (co-founders of Pathway to Paris), who added accompaniment to Patti Smith’s poetry.
Three solid surprises unfolded in the night. First came my personal discovery of French singer Imany, who delivered a smooth, soulful vocal set with jazzy tones of excellence. Secondly came Flea, bursting out the trumpet most righteously (who knew? Not me, clearly). Flea performed a lively set of looping musical mastery with his trusty bass guitar and yep, tooting the ol’ trumpet like a champ.
After Flea’s performance came Tenzin Choegyal accompanied by Rebecca Foon and later a lot of enthusiastic kids who sent ripples of positivity through the auditorium. Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau introduced Suluit to the stage where they performed a set of beautiful songs with drums and harmonies.
Next up came Eric Burdon of the Animals bringing a brilliant set of busting blues to the night with his stand up band and gravel deep-boom vocals. The music was followed by an interactive art piece from Olafur Eliasson who asked the audience members to reach under their seats for a solar-powered flower-shaped light and raise it up in the air. He proceeded to have the crowd collectively perform a sunrise, high noon, and sunset shindig.
Patti Smith sang “Pissing In A River” and dedicated “Because The Night” to her late husband, MC5’s guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, whose birthday it would have been. A highly emotional set saw laughter and tears flow through as Patti Smith ended the song, singing, “Because the night belongs to Fred.”
Bob Weir finished the night with his dreamy Dead-rock vibes, which brought many up off their seats and to the front of the stage for a swirl-dance-sway. The last surprise of the night came in the form of a special guest appearance from Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, joining Bob Weir on stage for a song. There was a little aftershow party held at August Hall, where Imany performed. The event was held to help spread an awareness of climate change and to find a way to build a path to the Paris Agreement by cutting out and down on the use of fossil fuels used.