Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morrissey Hollywood Palladium October 11 2007

Jack the Ripper
Stop Me if you Think You’ve Heard This One Before
Sister, I’m A Poet
The World is Full of Crashing Bores
The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
I Like You
The Loop
Death of a Disco Dancer
Billy Bud
Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself
Stretch Out And Wait
One Day Goodbye Will be Farewell
Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me
I’m throwing My Arms Around Paris
That’s How People Grow Up
Irish Blood, English Heart
All You Need Is Me
Last of the Famous International Playboys
Life is a Pigsty
How Soon is Now

First of the Gang to Die

A funny thing happened on the way to the Palladium, aside from the usual traffic nightmare otherwise known as the 101 freeway… we get to the palladium and had make a right off Sunset Blvd to find a place to park. After a couple of laps around the block my friend Ronny and I agreed to pull into the lot right across the street from the Palladium, parking everywhere was $20. Ronny pulls out a $100 bill, because that’s the way we roll, and hands it o the attendant. The attendant sees his Benji and denies it, apparently he only takes exact change! Now, there are about a hundred cars already in the lot, and the guy only takes exact change??? Asshole. We had to make a stop at the CVS pharmacy across the street to hit the ATM and get some twenties.

Being the astute businessman that he is, Ronny sold the extra ticket we had (below face value mind you) and we recuperated our parking rip off and still had some cash left over for the first round of bud lights (which were on a tap from an ice chest? WTF?).

I’m a veteran of 12 Morrissey concerts. I caught Morrissey’s Marc Jacobs sweaty white shirt from his show at the Arrowhead Pond and a drum stick from the Wiltern show in LA a few years back. (I later sold the Morrissey shirt for $350 to a die-hard moz fan). So I knew what to expect. I knew it would be impossible to get close to the stage… that space belonged to the fans who either spent the night in line or got there really early that morning… I had actually done the ‘get there really early’ thing the last time Morrissey played the palladium in 1999… and it’s really a waste. You spend hours in line and get a decent place by the stage, but only to be pushed up against sweaty girls and guys as others who didn’t get there so early tried to make their way as close to Morrissey as possible… tonight, I much rather enjoy a few drinks and appreciate from a distance.

Kristeen Young was the opening act… not to say the group was a White Stripes rip off… because I wouldn’t insult the White Stripes… Ronny and I took turns making beer runs and chatted with some old work mates and by the time Morrissey was about to go on we must have been on round number three.

Morrissey took the stage at approximately 21:07 by my clock to a rousing applause by ¾-full palladium. Morrissey and the lads opened with ‘Jack the Ripper’… the setlist must have been among the best of all the concerts I had been to, about twelve years worth. Though, as Morrissey got through the first couple of songs something didn’t feel quite right. As he sang ‘Tomorrow’, I began to miss the old lads… Alain Whyte and Gary Day… even though for a while I had a slight grudge against Whyte because he was the reason Morrissey canceled his Las Vegas show at the House of Blues (apparent back spasms) that I had gone to… but I was over it and now I was wishing he and Day were there.

The opening riff to ‘the Boy with a Thorn is his Side’ played and made my night… I’d never thought I would ever hear that song live! ‘The Loop’ was also great to hear… Solomon Walker led the lads strumming his stand up bass as the band took front and center, and the palladium was rocking!

There comes a specific time in every Morrissey show, especially if you’ve had a few, that you’re singing along and a lyric hits you right in the heart… and you pull out your cell phone and you text the lyric to someone… “the sanest days are mad…” I typed, “don’t rake up my mistakes, I know exactly what they are… and what do you do… well you just sit there… I’ve been stabbed in the back… so many, many times, I don’t have any skin… but that’s just the way it goes”. Yes, I texted the entire thing… unfortunately she doesn’t know much about Morrissey and she isn’t much a fan of metaphors.

“Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me… no hope, no harm, just another false alarm”, ok so I was texting again! This time I texted someone I knew would understand. She did, “so tell me how long… before the right one…” she responded. How priceless are those random moments when someone in a far off place can know exactly what you are thinking!

For years Morrissey has been described as depressing, “the ambassador of angst” wrote the Los Angeles Times. To those of us who have been loyally following him for years, obsessively reading each and every word of each and every song Morrissey is an artist, someone so talented that is able to get inside our minds, our hearts and our feelings and beautifully put those feelings into verses, into songs… he leads us like sheep into the dark, lonely corners of our thoughts… and then fearlessly leading us to a happier place. It is without wonder that Morrissey can host a ten-night residency without regular maintstream radio support.

“That’s How People Grow Up” was a new song that Morrissey interrupted because of some kind of technical sound problem… for a moment I wondered if Morrissey would continue… I wasn’t that close to the stage to figure out if the problem was fixed, but nonetheless the lads continued on.

Judging by the reaction, I could see that I wasn’t the only one who got goose bumps when ‘The Last of the Famous International Playboys’ was played. “Dear hero imprisoned, with all the new crimes that you are perfecting” the entire palladium crowd sang along… and Morrissey kindly put his microphone down and let the audience take over “I’m the last of the famous… international playboys…” Morrissey was having fun… and the audience didn’t miss a word… “I never wanted to kill… I’m not naturally evil… such things I do… just to make myself more attractive to you, have I failed? To which Morrissey responded emphatically “YES!!!”

It was near the end of the night and we had run into my buddy Veronica and a few of her friends who were enjoying the show not too far from where we were standing. Though ‘How Soon is Now’ is a tired song… we playfully toasted what was left of our drinks and with smiles on our faces, we sang our hearts out “So there’s a club that you’ve got to go.. you could meet somebody… who really loves you… so you go and stand on your own… and you leave on your own… and you go home and you cry and you want to die!” It was the sixth Smith song Morrissey had performed tonight. After all, the Hollywood Palladium was the venue where the Smiths performed in their first visit to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles! Morrissey closed with The First of the Gang to Die. The Palladium, which was closing for renovation at the end of Morrissey’s 10 show run, nearly came down ahead of schedule! Stage invaders attacked, everyone jumped, pushed and dragged their way to the front, it was everyone’s last chance to get to Morrissey. Keeping with tradition, Morrissey took off his shirt and tossed it to the wild crowd. It was a fitting end to a great night.

On the way home Ronny and I exchanged ex-girlfriend stories. A Morrissey concert can do that to you. That night I laid in my bed… still playing and replaying each moment of the unforgettable concert… “You have never been in love… we are the pretty petty thieves… and you’re standing on our streets… Hector was the first of the gang… and he stole from the rich and the poor and the not very rich- and the very poor… and he stole our hearts away… ahey he hey…“ my friend and I texted each other back and forth, and though ‘it may all end tomorrow’, tonight, we shall sing ourselves to sleep.


Anonymous said...

wonderful eddie! simply wonderful! though... you shouldn't really text that much!

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions