Monday night at the Tribeca Film Festival belonged to lovers of Patti Smith. Bruce Springsteen was a surprise guest at the Beacon Theater as Smith tore through a short set following the world premiere of Steve Sebring’s documentary “Horses: Patti Smith and her Band.”
The docu chronicles Smith’s 2015 and 2016 tour marking the 40th anniversary of her landmark album “Horses.”
As soon as the film ended, the curtain rose on Smith and her ensemble, which included longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye. They delivered a rousing hour of tunes, including “Dancing Barefoot,” “Land,” “Gloria,” and the Buffalo Springfield chestnut “For What It’s Worth.” She dedicated the latter song to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Fla., who have become gun control activists in the wake of the mass shooting that left 17 dead in February.
“We are moving to a new time and I look at young people to lead us,” Smith said. “It is the people who make change. People, we have to make change now.”
Smith buttressed her point by holding up her electric guitar and declaring that the instrument “the weapon of choice for my generation.”
Toward the end, Smith told the crowd she had “one more person” to bring out. The theater exploded when Springsteen came out, ax in hand, to duet with Smith on their 1978 collaboration “Because the Night.” Springsteen stuck around for the closing song, “People Have the Power,” which also featured a guest appearance by REM frontman Michael Stipe.