Gig Review – Patti Smith, Royal Albert Hall, 4 October 2021

It’s nearly two years since I was last at the Royal Albert Hall, for Cirque Du Soleil. Tony Bennett was the last artist I shot here, back in June 2019. So it was nice to be back and back to a full house.

Patti Smith doesn’t tour often but I got the impression passes would be seriously limited. So I was surprised to arrive and be one of 13 photographers. Tonight was a case of picking a side and shooting from the stairwell. Fortunately I had brought my 300mm lens which was perfect for the job.

Picking a side though wasn’t that easy – stage right where I ended up meant a clear view with no-one in the background but she played more to her left. Although chances are shots from that side would inevitably include band members in the background which I was keen to avoid.

So I went stage right and after the first ‘song’ which was spoken word during which we were under strict instructions not to shoot, we had songs 2 and 3. The light was great and it was good to be back at the Royal Albert Hall. The 300mm definitely did its job and before I knew it I was packed up and heading out into the night. It was good to finally see a few of the other London regulars, most of whom I hadn’t seen for 18 months or more.

Here are a couple of frames from the shoot.