Morrissey took L.A. back to school Saturday night (March 2) with an intimate show in the tiny auditorium of Hollywood High School. The sold-out gig followed his Friday night performance at the Staples Center, where his attempt to convert the venue to a meat-free setting reportedly failed – McDonald’s kept their stands closed, but several upper level vendors offered carnivore-friendly options. Between that and his battle with Jimmy Kimmel over refusing to appear on the same show as the “animal serial killer” rednecks of Duck Dynasty, it was a big week for Moz.
A cozy night with Morrissey did not come without consequences. The high school was admittedly novice to hosting such a major musical sensation; a line of disgruntled fans wrapped around three Hollywood blocks as they were delayed entrance due to complications at the check-in process. In addition, opening act Kristeen Young gave fans a headache (the lady next to us looked over two songs into her set and screeched, “Is she done yet? I need to hear this like a need a head in my ass. Where is Morrissey?”) during her 30-minute warm-up set.
After being forced to watch a video explaining the realities of fish suffocating, fans were treated to a appearance by Russell Brand. The “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” actor dove into a monologue, stating: “Good evening. I’m here for the same reason as you all – devotion to Morrissey.” At 9:57pm, the banner dropped, revealing Morrissey and his backing band, who were dressed in matching Indian chief t-shirts. The set kicked off with “Alma Matters” and “Ouija Board, Ouija Board.”
Following “November Spawned a Monster,” Morrissey addressed the audience, asking if anyone would like to speak. Thirsty for an ego-boost, he handed the mic to a lady in the front row who thanked him for making both her and her children’s lives complete. The man next to her chirped, “Thank you Morrissey for all the life lessons you taught us. Tonight you belong to the ages.” The former Smith’s frontman continued to pass around the microphone, basking in the glory of his many admirers’ compliments, until he had his fill. During “Maladjusted,” a fan handed him a handmade poster, which read “Class of 1977 -- best hair” and featured his photo.
A fairly mellow crowd came alive when the set reached “Speedway,” which abruptly came to a halt to transition into an a cappella version of “Asleep.” As expected, the evening featured several additional well-executed Smiths songs, including “Still Ill,” “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.”
It wouldn’t be a Morrissey show if there weren’t some sort of attempt to convert the world to veganism. Though the auditorium lacked a concession stand to strong-arm, there was a PETA table proudly tucked in the corner of the lobby. Moz’s real moment, however, came during “Meat is Murder;” a sea of heads looked down at their smartphones bobbing along to the song, occasionally glancing up at the extremely graphic video of cow and chicken slaughters which played behind him.
As the evening progressed, Morrissey’s shirt began to slowly unbutton, revealing a chiseled chest. Though he aired on the thin side, you wouldn’t’ be able to tell that this was the same man who cancelled shows due to complications with a bleeding ulcer earlier this year. There was a quick shirt change before “Let Me Kiss You,” during which Morrissey ripped off his top and chucked it to a giddy man in the front row before walking off the stage.
Following a “Morrissey” chant and sufficient applause, Moz reappeared in a pink button down, his band wearing matching Brooklyn Nets tees. They concluded the show with “The Boy With a Thorn in His Side.” Mid-song, a fan jumped on stage and kissed Morrissey’s hand before being dragged off stage by security. With the floodgates officially open, several copycats in the crowd attempted to follow suit, with many unsuccessfully attempting to crowd surf their way to the front. Several succeeded in having their hands slapped and a ballsy man managed to score a quick Morrissey embrace. Everyone cheered as a nine year old boy in a Smiths shirt made his way onto the stage. Morrissey grabbed his hand and picked him up, carrying him around the stage while belting out in song.
Fans left the show with a twinkle in their eye. Seeing Morrissey in such a personal setting left them swirling with nostalgia. As the majority of the audience grew up listening to Morrissey and The Smiths during their teenage days, seeing him perform in a high school auditorium took them back. And even though his pompadour has grayed, Moz still has the voice that we fell in love with in the ‘80s.
“Ouija Board, Ouija Board”
“Irish Blood, English Heart”
“You Have Killed Me”
“November Spawned A Monster”
“You’re The One For Me, Fatty”
“People Are The Same Everywhere”
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”
“To Give (The Reason I Live)”
“Meat is Murder”
“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’
“Action Is My Middle Name”
“Everyday Is Like Sunday”
“I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris”
“Let Me Kiss You”
“The Boy With The Thorn In His Side”