Saturday, June 9, 2007

An Old Harpsichord That Nobody Plays

Last night I saw Morrissey in concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Oh my fuck.

We took a bus from Koreatown down to Hollywood Boulevard and ate some very delicious sushi and teriyaki in a little hole in the wall restaurant. I've been missing sushi since Kyle and I moved away from Seattle in March. The old Japanese man working there had converted a bunch of slick WELCOME TO DISTURBIA print ads into WELCOME signs, which cracked me up...there was also a blue index card with writing that said, "postcard you Need? Free I get for You." I'm not a xenophobe or anything; poorly written English is something I find endearing in people that really can't be expected to know better, like people for whom it's a second language, and 3 year olds. I read a pretty unsatisfying Savage Love column in the LA Weekly when we were there. It was one of those ones where the person asks a really long question with four or five sub-questions, and Dan Savage replies, "Yes." Then we caught a second bus down to the Hollywood Bowl. We got lumped together with a bunch of other concert-goers and eventually had to cross a busy street with no crosswalk. So we all bolted across pretty heavy traffic as a pack, and during our jaunt, I said, "you can tell we're Moz fans, 'cause we all want to die." Which made Kyle, and absolutely nobody else in our group of about 10 people, laugh. Ah, the Moz Posse. Largely without a sense of humor. Unless the jokes involve how alone you are, and aren't really jokes, but pointed commentary on how inept we all - as humans - are at peaceful and truly loving socialization.

When we got to the Bowl, we climbed approximately forty billion stairs and found our seats finally. Kyle and I had nosebleed seats (made sense: we paid $50 a ticket). Our position was adventageous in that I didn't have to pay too much attention to his opening act, Kristeen Young. I originally thought she had a good voice and some interesting technique, but she used them so frequently and in every one of her songs that I eventually got bored and started fixating on the fact that her dress was apparently made of balloons and duct tape; I did ike her hair, though. Then I decided that she was actually systematically raping my aural passages for 45 minutes with her yowling and pinching notes like a gothic cat in heat. I was also annoyed by the fact that the video feed on two of the screens were about two bars off - Christine would sing two or three lines, and then the picture of her would mouth those same lines a few seconds later. Meanwhile she'd continued, so the image on the screen was one of ghostly ventriloquism or voice-throwing.

Then Kristeen Young wrapped it up and old movies began to play. Kyle enjoyed this part of the show the most, because old "whaddaya say, fellas? let's go make it with some dames!" stuff makes him laugh. I was on the edge of my seat because I knew it meant Morrissey was around and getting set up.

And then...

Out came the band, dressed in shirtsleeves, black vests and ties.
And out came Moz, In a white suit jacket, white pants, and black shirt looking exactly like he should. He shouted "HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!" (with which I agreed completely), and opened with The Queen is Dead.

Given that this moment was one I'd been anticipating for about four years, it didn't surprise me that, though I knew the songs, I couldn't sing. I just sat there, slack-jawed and blinded by the lights, which were alsome.* The bad part about being so far away from the stage was that the crowd around us wasn't as stoked as I hoped they'd be, given that the only account I've ever read of a Morrissey show was of one that took place during the heyday of The Smiths and their melodrama (in How Soon is Never? by Marc Spitz). Which is why I was sitting at all.

Kyle made the point that Moz has made it to the third stage of his career - the performer's voice has given out, and he's a little older now, maybe he doesn't want to tour anymore, got a smug attitude, and a fantastic wardrobe. What does he do? He goes to Vegas and becomes a lounge singer. Morrissey may not have sounded absolutely pitch-perfect last night, but he was on his album. And I think that's a common problem for people. Of course you suck when you're sweating on stage and four million pairs of eyes are shining in the dark at you. Elton John, however, can go to Vegas and end it all where Celene Dion left off. Who are we kidding? It's where he should have started.

I can't put into words how good I felt about the show. So many people managed to jump on stage and rush Morrissey (about one per song), and I always clapped for them, even if it's kind of stupid. So wait, you paid like $300 to get to the front of the pit, and then jumped onstage so you could be sent to holding for the rest of the show and god knows what else after? Sounds like a...viable...plan...??

Anyway, I have to comment on the huge Hispanic population at the show. We all know that Morrissey is inexplicably HUGE in Mexico. I want answers. What is it about sad bastard music (as Barry from High Fidelity would put it) that speaks to young, urban Mexican youth? I have no idea where to start, but I did hear someone shout "MORRISSEY, YOU FUCKING MEXICAN, I LOVE YOU!" and I think that's awesome, so keep it up, Mexican young people. You're as entitled to cutting yourself in your room and screaming at your parents as much as the rest of us are, and it makes more sense somehow rather than us WASPs - or in my case, lasped Hindustanis posing as WASPs - doing it.

Morrissey ended with How Soon is Now? which is what finally brought me to my feet. Incredible. It's SO GOOD live. Fuck!

So, what else?

Oh, yes...the encore...

He played Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want, which was...there are no words. I was planning on doing an article on this show for LA's The Place, but I see now that it will be totally impossible to emotionally extricate myself from what happened last night. Also impossible will be the requirement to refer to myself as "we", as in "we at LA's the Place went to the Morrissey show last night and it was awesome", because I find that to be ridiculous.

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