Friday, March 20, 2009

Actually, that joke is still pretty funny

Cary and I went to see Morrissey last night.

Ultimately I think it will go down as one of those shows I remember more for what happened around the performance than for the performance itself.

Jen14221 was complaining she had to attend, then announcing via Twitter that it was fabulous. My pregnant pal Kate was walking briskly up the stairs to pee and call the sitter throughout the night. And I musn't forget the precious superfan couple who sat in front of us -- too young to remember the Smiths, but they still knew all the lyrics to "How Soon is Now." But apparently the night would have been incomplete without the Morrissey gropers. The first guy who tried to hug him on stage seemed sincere, but after that all these people were looking at the crowd with an expression that said, "I too am hugging Morrissey" as security gingerly hauled them off stage.

Try as I might, I can't begin to forget Morrissey's slightly disturbing heart-shaped back sweat, or the way he threw not one, but two shirts into the audience. His voice has lost nothing, yet at nearly 50 he is more Tom Jones than Mick Jones.

But I digress, because it's really all about Morrissey and me. I first heard the Smiths as a high school freshman -- "Please, please let me get what I want" from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, to be exact. I had yet to learn that compilations often host a band's throwaway tracks, but whatever, I was enthralled. The following Christmas I got The Queen is Dead on LP. At that moment, no piece of music meant more to me. Then the Smiths broke up my junior year of high school and I was bereft.

So there was a lot riding on last night's performance. And while I wasn't at all disappointed, alot has changed since 1987.

Morrissey would be nothing without his backing band. Even if he sculpts their artistic decisions, he feeds on their vitality -- you could practically see a pulse beating through the veins beneath their matching Tour of Refusal t-shirts. Morrissey may have once defined youthful malaise, but now it is his band that keeps him from sounding stale.

I tried to imagine what it would be like if I'd seen Morrissey, Marr, and Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce. I don't think it would have been as good.

For me the best part of last night was not that I finally saw one of my icons perform live, but that I realize that Morrissey is better off post-Smiths, and so am I.

Update: a picture of the heart-shaped back sweat! Thanks, Jen14221 and WhippetGood

1 comment:

J Frank Parnell said...

Never saw Mozzer live, never saw Johnny Marr live either, at least I don't think so (can't recall if I saw The The or not). But I did see the other two backing Sinead O'Troubles in 1990, with Adam&the Ants' Marco Pirroni on guitar. They were great. But I doubt many in the audience knew who they were.