Converging on Pasadena yesterday, today and tomorrow: the legions of Morrissey faithful. I was among them yesterday, properly dressed and a three on the 10 point scale of psychedom for the show, comparatively. Now, mind you, LA's has a well documented fascination with the Moz, (this docu perhaps inspired by the great Klosterman piece anthologized in DC-BMW03 for Spin), so I didn't even bother getting too overdone. Out of my league.
I was a late blooming Smiths fan, coming after my NIN-superlative melodrama days and before my true rebirth into pop-lustre, so what I like/love now would have been red-hot had I had the tunes at the right time. That said, I feel like I needed to be 28 seeing Morrissey and loving it. Any time 10 years earlier and some post-punk fuck you stance would have set my sentiment-o-meter into the barf-red zone (being melodramatic and ANGRY was so much different for me back in the day than melodramatic and depressed, which I would have not copped to). Instead, I stood there wishing I knew the b-sides to songs sung loudly by my neighbors, and felt slightly ashamed when my pulse raced more for obvious tracks (the guilt of only-knowing-singles). Still, there wasn't a wiff of knowingness and exclusion to be had among the largely Mexican-American crowd, who sang and danced together like it was the indie rock prom we all wish we'd had. The beefy dude next to me was alone and shouted "I LOVE YOU" at the top of his lungs, then started taking cell calls. The last time that happened at a show I was at was Bright Eyes, but the crowd there was much less self-assured. Maybe in 23 years they'll surrender.
Morrissey, in my first vision of the man, is a true grotesque. He moves as he sings, in half-time, his whole being devoted to restrained inner monologue with sharp barbs of reality (usually punctuated by a whip of his mic chord). He seemed to me to be in a perpetual state of whithering onstage, and when he made some banter comment about "the last moment of his mortal self" or some such self-reference (...I thank you for buying tickets so early), I had a sudden feeling that maybe he's been decomposing on stage for the last 23 years, slowly - like some existential version of GG Allin threatening not sudden violence but the even more cruel fate of watching someone you love just rot before you in age. In the lowlights he looked like a mechanic and in the highlights, Jay Leno. Either way, this is not the physique of a man who is loved for what he looks or feels like on the outside.
I was constantly mesmerized but I couldn't tell why, other than this snakecharmer half-time thing he does, crooning against the pent up energy of his Hives look a like back up band (there seems to be a shortage of pop punk boy band suits in the warehouse so they had to wear...catering uniforms?!). I spent today listening to his covers, "Cosmic Dancer" and "Moon River" being two poles of last nights show for me - something very glam/Roxy Music about the whole stage show (the sax?) but Sinatra about the vibe. I told my gracious friend (whose plus one I was) that if Las Vegas were run by the Mexican Mob, maybe the Moz would have been Sinatra. Or, maybe Morrissey is the real El Vez? Prince has his own club, as do the Beatles, so maybe Vegas needs its own Morrissey star stage - the most beloved loser's lounge.