Why a Morrissey concert is like a timeshare vacation

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I had the honor of seeing Morrissey perform in Austin at the Austin Music Hall last Saturday night. It was kind of a miracle because he didn’t cancel, he didn’t flounce off the stage at some unknown insult, and he didn’t cut any songs short due to crowd misbehavior. Anyway, the show was a delight, and of course I was in awe of someone who is Godlike to me.

I’m pretty sure Morrissey (or at least his marketing team) is aware of his Godlike status, because I purchased this shirt at the merch stand:

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Morrissey’s merch stand is insane. If I had known how many amazing shirts would be for sale, I would have started saving six months ago. There were probably 20 different shirts. Tongue held firmly in cheek, there was a tee shirt with Oscar Wilde thinking “Who is Morrissey?”, a shirt with the legendary picture of Moz with a cat on his head, a poster of Moz in the England shirt, a mouse pad with the photo of Moz in the bath, etc. etc. etc. This serves as a warning to anyone seeing him on this tour – be prepared to make tough choices or else spend a lot of money.

Of course, before Moz hit the stage there was the opening act. The same opening act he’s had since 2007, which means I’ve seen her several times. The same opening act that most of the audience would walk out on if they weren’t held captive by the fact that the legendary Morrissey is playing next.

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Kristeen Young is like a talentless Yoko Ono. She tries too hard to be “weird”, cacophonous, discordant, strident and unlistenable. That’s what she WANTS to sound like, I assume. It’s like a circus calliope gone off the rails while a banshee cries in the night. It’s everything you hate, and more! My friends and I have been trying to figure out why she’s been his opening act for so many years. Maybe she’s one of the few people he trusts in the world…although there are some salacious rumors going around. After all, Morrissey did reveal in his book that he is bisexual. Well, there is a lid for every pot, I suppose…if the rumors are true…

Having survived Kristeen Young for the umpteenth time, I was ready to hear some actual music from Morrissey. He did not disappoint.

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Here is the set list:

  1. Encore:

The band were all wearing shirts that say FANCY MAN, which is funny if you’re familiar with British slang.

What I love about seeing a Morrissey show is the realization that he feels the music as much as you do. I always get angry when I sing along with Speedway, and I saw that rage reflected in his expression. Hand In Glove followed by I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris packed a surprising punch. I ended up crying, but that’s to be expected at this show. If you don’t at least tear up a little bit during a Morrissey concert, you might want to check the dose of your meds.

The highlight of the show was Everyday Is Like Sunday. The crowd was joyous, and sang along loudly. Everyone was smiling, cheering, raising their hands in the air, dancing and laughing.

The low point of the show came during Meat Is Murder. The film Meet Your Meat was shown on the backdrop, as it has been for years. I have learned it’s better for me if I just look down at the floor or watch the crowd rather than seeing that film. Yes, I do eat meat, but not as much as I used to. I don’t like being visually assaulted. This is why a Morrissey show is like a timeshare vacation. If you want to see the entire performance, you have to sit through this demonstration film for a few minutes. I watched the faces in the crowd and saw expressions of disbelief, horror, shock, and disgust. Some were like me and looked away.

The song finally stopped playing, and I looked up to see that Morrissey and the rest of the band had their backs to the audience and were watching the film as it silently flickered on the backdrop. I have to hand it to him, he had the strength to actually watch it and I did not. Things got incredibly awkward as the minutes ticked on and the film still played. The crowd was murmuring to one another, a swell of rumbling discomfort that rose in volume as time went on. I think some people walked out. Finally, the film stopped and the show went on, minus some of the goodwill that Morrissey had earned with the crowd.

The next song was National Front Disco, which seems rather upsetting considering the election results in Europe this weekend. I don’t think that the crowd really forgot about the horrors of Meat Is Murder, but finally the energy was back to the usual levels when Moz came back out for the encore, singing Asleep. I’ve never heard him sing that at a concert. It’s one of my favorite Smiths songs, and it means a lot to me. Hearing and watching him sing it really transported me back to some sad times in my life, and I wept openly. My heart broke open. What a wonderful moment…

During the final song, there were a few people who rushed the stage to tackle/hug our hero. He was encouraging them to come up, holding out his hand and waving them up. Sometimes security intervened and the moment was lost, but there were a few who achieved their goal. The one I remember the most was a gentle and sweet-looking ginger-haired boy, who clasped Moz by the waist and rested his ginger head on Moz’s chest. The look on Moz’s face was one of surprise, then acceptance, then reassurance as he patted the boy on the shoulder.

The whole evening seemed surreal. I had a good spot in the crowd and could see his expressive face as he sang. It’s been a long time since I was that close for a Morrissey performance. Considering the health scares he had last year, it was pretty amazing that I got to see him again. I hope he will come back around…but somewhere in the back of my mind I always worry that every time I see Morrissey, it will be the last time.

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One thought on “Why a Morrissey concert is like a timeshare vacation

  1. poppyday3000

    I saw Morrissey in Dallas on May 22nd and you have hit the nail very completely on the head, especially regarding Kristeen Whatzhername and the Meat is Murder portion of the show. It was a good show, though, and just what I’d expect from Morrissey. And I’ll always buy Morrissey tickets, every time he comes to Dallas, because I’m always afraid that it’s going to be the last time I get to see him.

    Reply

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