Pop Quiz: Patti Smith

Aidin Vaziri | People are still talking about Patti Smith’s captivating performance at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival two years ago. Those who missed it get a reprieve. On tour to promote her new studio album, “Banga,” the New York punk poet makes another appearance at the free concert in Golden Gate Park next Sunday (she’ll also sneak in a show at the Fillmore on Oct. 8), dishing out the rock ‘n’ roll classics such as “Because the Night” and “Gloria.” We spoke to Smith, 65, minutes after she got off the stage in London earlier this month.

Patti Smith
Q: I think every aspiring rock star needs to watch you onstage before they’re allowed to perform in public.
A: My job is to communicate, whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people. I just imagine the people all the way in the back and I think about them. They are human beings way out there. I honestly believe I could wrap my arms around the whole crowd. It’s like you’re a kid and you feel like you can reach out and touch the moon.
Q: So where’s the best place to see a Patti Smith concert: in a theater or the great outdoors?
A: Tonight, we played for, like, 4,500 people. We’ve played for 20,000 people on this tour. We’re going to end it in some club. It doesn’t matter to me. I just like people. I’m not really good socially. I’m a failure at parties. But onstage, that’s when I socialize. That’s when I feel like I have all these friends.
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