Monday, April 13, 2009

Morrissey and Me

I don’t know if I have mentioned this but Morrissey played in Dallas this Friday night. And I attended this concert. Before I get to the Meat is Murder of the matter, I want to address some more peripheral elements of the concert and the concert going experience. I don’t mean to sound like a brat but I know I will regardless so I will just go ahead and say it. I have had too many years of free drinks and comfy chairs to have been thrown so harshly back into the world of General Admission show cattle. Not that I think I am above it. I actually loved the freedom of being able to determine how close or far I wanted to be from the stage. But I do miss chairs.

Also, if you had surveyed me prior to the show about my level of awareness, research and advance prep leading up to the event, I would have given myself very high marks. I looked up set lists from shows on the tour so far. I looked up the time that the doors opened at the venue, the time the show was scheduled to start and checked out the general layout of the venue. So I was pretty proud of myself when I saw that we had arrived right as doors were opening and people were calmly filing in. Should be about 30 minutes until show time. Enough time to maybe grab a drink and find a decent place to stand. Then we noticed a drum kit set up in front of the makeshift white curtain. The Freemasons and Dan Brown put together have nothing on the organizers and promoters of this show in terms of keeping something a well-hidden secret. In this case, it was the fact that there was an opening band. So we decided to seek out the bar and grill that I had read tales of in my pre-show research.

And find it, we did. I once spent about three hours at the Cleveland (Most Likely Not International) Airport. The bar and grill at the Palladium made all those memories flood back to me. It’s not to say that the place was bad. In fact, it was kind of cute. Instead of some garish House of Blues leather and lace and distressed denim faux roadhouse, there was something kind of sweet about sitting on vinyl chairs at formica tables, drinking a half full plastic cup of Miller Lite (they pour it from the can) looking out of a plate glass window, wondering if the sight of a plane being de-iced will suddenly appear if you squint or drink hard enough. My other favorite part of the Skylounge is their not-quite-Big-Buck-Hunter machine. I think it was called International Trophy Hunter.

But after two hours of conversations and concessions, it was time for Morrissey. And I was able to get pretty close but yet at a safe enough distance that when I finally abandoned my poorly-chosen heels halfway through the show, I knew I was in very little danger of losing a toe or three. He started the show with a somewhat odd version of “This Charming Man” but frankly, it was Morrissey so I’ll take it. In short, he did five Smiths songs. Some worked out well (“Ask”, “Some Girls are Bigger Than Others”) and some didn’t do it for me (I am the lone dissenting voice on this one but “Death of a Disco Dancer” left me cold). But songs that I didn’t think I would be that excited to hear surprised me (“Black Cloud” and “Something is Squeezing My Head”) with how much I liked them. But, as trad and unimaginative as it may sound, “How Soon Is Now?” was quite possibly the highlight of the show.

And of course for every positive thing that I write, I have to bitch about something. Actually, I really did have very few complaints. I know there were some complaints about the sound but I am the first person to admit that “audiophile” has never been a word used to describe me. I could hear Morrissey. I could hear the band. I could hear the massive gong. So I was fine. Could I hear the tremolo on the whatever on the reverb on the high hat? Since I made that up and that’s not a thing, no I couldn’t. I am just not a good person to talk to about that kind of stuff. If Morrissey’s microphone had gone out two songs into the show and the entire concert was without vocals, I probably would have noticed. Other than that, I am hopeless when it comes to picking apart aural flaws. The only real nitpick I have is the song selection, a flaw I was well-prepared for but one about which I can still bitch and whine.

The makeup of the crowd was 85% people my age or older. And when I say older, I mean that I was shocked by how many people my parents age were at the show. Meaning that the majority of the people at the show got into Morrissey via The Smiths and his solo material pre-1995 or so. Now I understand why Morrissey does not want to turn his show into an Monkees at the KLUV Oldies Fest kind of nostalgia set and wants to represent his 25 year career without such a heavy focus on the past. However, I don’t understand why his selection of solo material not from his new album was so You are the Quarry to present. Alright, your “Irish Blood, English Heart”s and “First of the Gang to Die”s may have roped in a younger generation of fans but there’s a vast sea of fans who were desperately hoping for a “Suedehead” or “Every Day is Like Sunday” or “November Spawned a Monster” or “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” or “Boy Racer” and they never got it. Seriously, the encore being “First of the Gang to Die” seemed like camping out overnight to be first in line to see “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” or something.

Other than that small gripe, I had an amazing time. I danced with my shoes off and I saw Morrissey deny his Morrissey hand to a rude dreadlocked body surfer. And in the traffic jam to get out of the parking lot after the show, I got to see a shirtless man with a full NIN back piece tattoo scream “MORRISSEYYYYYY! FUCKIN’ MORRISSEYYYYYYY!” into stranger’s car windows before hopping into what I pray was an accomplice’s car. The alternate wrap-up I have for this story is that I ended the night with seeing the friendliest, least dramatic car-jacking in the traffic jam after the Morrissey show.


Anonymous said...

I read this and then went to lunch and there was a Morrissey song playing at the deli I went to. I immediately wondered if you would blog on something like this. Something like "Morrissey and the deli" or "Morrissey, my sandwich, and me."

amandacobra said...

I have, in the past, blogged in on topics such as Taco Bueno bowls, co-workers who carry large jars of mayo onto the elevator and the Republican National Convention. So basically I will blog at length about anything.

Cody said...

Judging from the picture, these concerts are really leaving their mark, Amanda. More fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe? IJS

The Crump said...

For a second there after seeing that picture I was like "Jeez, did Amanda get 40 years older or something. Times are bad, but I didn't think they were that bad." Then I realized oh wait that's Nancy Sinatra. DUH

Great review. I don't really know what to think of his new record.