For those of you that have never attended a Morrissey show, allow me to set the stage for you. First off, everyone is in a great mood, even the security guards. The people-watching is second to none. A lot of what you’d expect—Moz look-alikes, rockabillies, sexually ambiguous boys and girls, overweight emos, gays, lesbians, aging fans that have been fans for over twenty years, and of course the phenomenon exclusive to Los Angeles—Latinos galore. I can’t explained the Mexican/Moz connection if you haven’t witnessed it yourself. I read somewhere that since Morrissey is an Englishman of Irish decent and his lyrics sometime deal with living in the land of his forbears’ oppressors, the Mexicans in The States connect with him on that level. Seems kind of a reach, but hey, it ain’t my theory.
Did I mention it was my first Morrissey show? I’ve had a curse with seeing Morrissey. I’ve tried to see him three times already in my life and for one reason or another it hasn’t worked out. The last time I tried to see him, I had all-access backstage passes to the KROQ Inland Invasion, and dude called in sick.
For this show, I loyally donned my Lakai “Skateboarders Of The World, Unite And Take Over T-shirt. Funny enough, as I was exiting the men’s room at one point in the night, a Mexican dude threw both his hands in the air and exclaimed, “Yeah, man! with the look of recognizing an old friend on his face. I thought he must directing this at someone behind me, but he promptly hugged me as his girlfriend grabbed my shirt saying, “He had that shirt on yesterday! The guy continued with the friendliness, asking me what I was doing at the show, etc. That’s when I figured I had to shoot as many Morrissey fans as I could. Sure enough, moments later standing in the line to get booze, I ran into Vans TM Dave Smith, Jon Goemann, Andrew Allen and some of their friends. They amazingly had pit tickets. I asked Andrew how he got them knowing how expensive and hard to acquire they were: “I won a game of poker and bought ’em. Spoken like a true Anti Hero.
Due to it being the second night of a three-night stint, I didn’t see all the members of the skate community that I expected, but rest assured they all attended one of the shows. I read in the L.A. Weekly that these dates were scheduled last minute (and sold out just as quickly), and there is no further touring on Moz’s schedule.
The opening band, hand-picked by Moz himself, was a two-piece outfit by the name of Kristeen Young. With a young man on the skins and a very fashionable Bjork/Karen O.-looking girl on a keyboard, it was like a The White Stripes roll reversal. They belted out noisy art rock with vocals similar to Jefferson Airplane—pretty neat-o. Then after a brief intermission, it was Morrissey time. As Moz modestly walked out on stage, the 3,000-person sold out crow went nuts. It was defeaning, and the band ripped right into The Smiths’ classic “Panic. I don’t really know how I was lucky enough to get my camera in. I asked a cop early on if they were allowed and she said yes. But people inside the auditorium told me they were denied. At one point, an usher walking by my seat (did I mention I was in the tenth row?) and politely asked me to stop shooting photos, but that was the only warning I received. Morrissey waltzed through an hour and 45 minutes of bangers with his voice and physique still in top form (he ripped off his shirt and threw it into the audience three times during the show). Most of the set was from his last two albums, Ringleader Of The Tormentors and You Are The Quarry. But there were plenty of classics like “How Soon Is Now, “William It Was Really Nothing, “Every Day Is Like Sunday, and he even encored with “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.
I’m happy to say my curse with Moz was broken with one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever seen. As thousands of people cried out in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 1—3, II, too, love you Morrissey.—Blair Alley
Check the bootlegged video clips attached to the left!