Patti Smith with A Silver Mt. Zion Montreal QC October 3 to 7

The festival’s unofficial opening show, publicised largely through word of mouth, featured local octet A Silver Mt. Zion backing NYC legend Patti Smith. Smith played a proper show with Lenny Kaye and company at a church two days later, but this performance was reserved for poetry, a handful of songs (no classics or covers) and the improvised, crashing and burning crescendos of A Silver Mt. Zion. It was a powerful set interspersed with Smith’s surprisingly funny and remarkably humble chatter. But her case for sanctifying U.S. Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh was a bit much.