Morrissey @ Palladium, 10/12/07


8.12pm. October 12, 2007. Ensconced deep within the leatherette folds of my 1975-model La-Z-Boy, I take stock of the sitch. Large bag of Funyuns, extra-pungent? Check. Two ample jugs of Carlo Rossi “Rhine Wine”? Check. Latest installment of the “Midget Grandmas” adult entertainment series queued up in the DVD player? Check and mate. Another sweet Friday evening a la DF is on the way. And yet there’s a nagging sense that I had other obligations….

8.15pm. OMG! FFS! I’ve forgotten all about the Morrissey concert this eve! I retire to the boudoir to coax my reluctant locks into the de rigeur pompadour. Numerous cans of Brylcreem later, I’ve made gravity my bitch. It’s time to hit the road.

8.32pm. Arrival @ venue. DF: “I’d like my complimentary ticket please. You’ll find my name on the guest list.” Ticket agent: “Sir, I keep telling you this is for guests whose names begin with ‘R-Z’ only; your ticket would be in the ‘A-F’ line.” DF: “You mean my free ticket that I am entitled to at a charge of no dollars and no cents because I am on the guest list?” Ticket agent: “For the fifth time, yes. And again, it’s really not necessary to shout.”

8.35pm. On the threshold of entering the venue, I scope out the best security line. Criterion: which of these guards will give me the least aggressive frisk-job? I pick out the most apathetic-seeming of the lot and get through the experience with a minimum of molestation. Others, not so fortunate, emerge from the security line weeping and bearing psychosexual scars that will haunt them for a lifetime.

8.42pm. I cruise around inside checking out the pre-concert scene. Hipsters abound with the requisite pompadour/sideburn combo and/or T-shirts trumpeting their Morrissey allegiance. There are also many James Dean look-alikes with adorable matching girlfriends. I feel embarrassingly at ease among all these freaks, but to my surprise there’s a substantial mainstream element as well. Some of these folks look like they’re ready for eighteen holes out at the country club golf course. Jesus, this is Morrissey, people–you’ve got to bring the edge. I am especially shocked by the presence of families with kids. Don’t these people know that families with children are contrary to everything Morrissey stands for? I politely though firmly ask many of them to leave, but all are non-compliant. How very rude of them.

8.55pm. As we all wait for the show to start, a loop of weird-as-all-shit movies plays on a screen behind the stage. One of the clips features actors referring to a character named “Morrissey” and whenever the name is intoned, the crowd cheers, lemming-like in their adulation.

9.02pm. God, there’s a lot of pre-concerto time to kill. Hey, did DF ever tell you that he once tried to introduce a (now ex-) girlfriend to some Smiths songs? Her response: “This music has no soul.” It’s often said that you should never hit a woman, but fortunately you don’t need to hit a woman to push her out of a moving vehicle. It would have been neither a pleasure nor a privilege to die by that bee-yotch’s side.

9.16pm. Oh, right, Morrissey was supposed to play music tonight. Now that is going to happen. Cheers erupt when Elvis Depressley takes the stage. Man, he’s not as young as he used to be. Of course, neither is DF. From my right, a beefy gentleman lights up an enormous joint, engulfing the local environs in a cloud of second-hand reefer smoke. DF shortly finds himself in the throes of contact-high paranoia. My god, don’t move a muscle. Otherwise, Morrissey will know I’m here.

9.24pm. Hey, you know who really loves Morrissey? ¡Mexicans! The Moz responds to his latino aficionados with ethnicity-specific shout-outs, observing that the SoCal analog to “Irish Blood, English Heart” may be “Mexican Blood, American Heart” (cheers from all) or even “Mexican Blood, Mexican Heart” (louder cheers, as well as boos from DF, which brings dirty looks and causes a circle to form around me in the crowd as people edge away).

9.31pm. Oh, and speaking of nationalism, Morrissey makes various gestures in that direction, performing my personal fave, “National Front Disco”. I enthusiastically intone “England for the English” along with Moz, which causes the circle of alienation surrounding me to widen a bit more.

9.43pm. Also alienating my fellow concert-goers is my tendency to laugh whenever Morrissey busts out with an intersong witticism, or even when he performs a number that I’ve always considered particularly funny (such as, tonight, “Girlfriend in a Coma”). Am I the only one getting the jokes? On this evening, apparently yes, as uncomplicated adoration rather than humorous appreciation dominates the venue. For the record, though, Oasis has also claimed to be moved to incontinence by laughter at Morrissey’s lyrics, so I’m in fairly decent company (though still relatively non-incontinent).

9.48pm. Crowd participation! Moz gives a front-row diehard the chance to speak into the mic, and the lucky fan asks … whether Morrissey is satisfied with the sound levels. Really? That’s the best you can do? You worm your way to the front of the Palladium, enduring crowd crushes and perspiring profusely, and when you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to your favorite pop star live and in concert, you ask him about the quality of the fucking acoustics? Morrissey, to his eternal credit, responds with withering disgust rather than a substantive answer.

10.04pm. Wow, Morrissey is really sweaty. Oh, wait, that appears to have been a prerequisite to the statutory “rip off shirt and throw it to crowd” moment. In a show of support, DF does same, but oddly no one seems as enthused about catching my ripped-off shirt. Well, at least now everyone can see my “I <3 MOZ” lower-back tattoo.

10.15pm. Attention, cigarette-lighter-waving fan: This is not 1975, Morrissey is not Peter Frampton, and “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” is certainly not “Free Bird”. So let’s just put the incendiary device away.

10.29pm. Toward the end, the Mozzer pauses betwixt songs and asks us “Can you bear more?” The crowd cheers uproariously while all alone, DF loudly responds “For the love of Christ, no!” Dirty looks abound, and I could now play a regulation game of American football in the disgust-inspired crowd space surrounding me. Nurse, get these clueless buggers twenty cc’s of ironic sensibility, stat!

10.37pm. Finally, and thankfully, Morrissey ceases to perform musical numbers (after a surprising and truly rousing rendition of “How Soon Is Now?”) and we all file out, spent.

10.40pm. It’s raining outside. Perfect! How nice of Moz to spring for some weather modification to create the perfect post-concert atmosphere. NB: bacon-wrapped hot dogs from street vendors taste even more delicious when flavored with smog-tinctured Angeleno rainwater.

11.01pm. The Verdict: DF’s pre-concert expectations were on the low side, due to word of mouth that Morrissey shows had become abbreviated and indifferent of late. For the record, my experience at the Palladium suggests that these assertions are fraudulent. The Mozzer worked his ass off out there tonight, performing for good long time, playing a robust set list that ranged over his entire oeuvre (including six Smith songs), and bringing a crowd that was initially a bit flat into a nice, frothy frenzy by show’s end. You’ve still got it, Old Timer.

Photo from Saturday night by Sung–His full set is here.