Day: October 22nd, 2007


Monday, October 22nd, 2007 | All Things, Events, Music

When Morrissey‘s June concert dates at MSG were postponed due to the singer’s viral infection and eventually canceled, I took it as a sign that I was just not meant to see my onetime favorite artist again. Certainly not reunited with Johnny Marr — that’s Professor Marr to you; Moz reportedly turned down an offer of $75 million(!) to tour with his former bandmate. Much as I loathe the whole reunion-for-cash idea — World tour! (“Media whore!”) “Please the Press in Belgium!” — that’s one concert I would have made sure not to miss. Cruel fate, being born too late to attend a Smiths concert; this year marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s break-up.

Morrissey solo, though, I’ve managed to catch in concert many times over the years, which is probably why I’d pretty much forgotten about this most recent lost opportunity until a press release announced that Morrissey would be returning to New York to make up for the missed dates in venues specially chosen for being “small and intimate.” Five dates in late-October at the Hammerstein Ballroom… which I suppose one could consider intimate as compared to Madison Square Garden. But the kicker: “these shows will be the last Morrissey will do for the foreseeable future.”

Hmm, vague hints at a farewell tour, without crassly promoting it as such… well played, marketers! But even so, at $60 a pop plus Ticketmaster fees, it was not enough to lure me back into the fray. Let’s face it, I hadn’t even bothered to pick up the last album. Back in 2004, Moz’s comeback concerts at The Apollo were among the hottest tickets in town, selling out with remarkable swiftness, and sending fans new and old into a frenzy all over again. (We saw him at Radio City that year.) But as these most recent concert dates drew near, it became embarrassingly apparent that five dates may have been a bit ambitious. The die-hard fans, of course, still snatched up their special 5-night packages for all NYC dates ($200), but the other tickets languished at the box office. It made me a little sad; even if I personally hadn’t been moved to fork over the $70+ dollars for the privilege of standing in a crowded concert hall for a couple of hours, the man is still a legend.

Ticket prices were slashed repeatedly, at one point to a mere $20. We picked up ours for opening night the week before the concert… not for $20, but we won’t begrudge Moz a little extra.

Back in the day (i.e., the early to mid 1990s), I would have made sure to arrive early and stake out a spot up within hand-grasping, gladiola-hurling distance to the stage. No longer. Over glasses of red at The Chelsea Mercantile, we plotted our arrival time to entirely skip opening act Kristeen Young (good move: she was ousted from the tour later in the week), hitting the concert floor shortly before 9PM, just as Moz came on the stage.

Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” kicked off the 90 minute-set, during which we never made it to stage closer than this. (Better pictures here.) But I was fine with that.

Morrissey concert

Morrissey concert

Moz sweated through several shirts on stage — this black tee says “Je Suis Morrissey.” At one point, he dispensed with the tops entirely, performing bare-chested, and looking fitter than I would have expected for a man approaching 50. (Not everyone approved.)

Morrissey concert

Morrissey concert

Our concert’s set list was an interesting mix of new(ish) and classic; it was not until JK pointed it out to me afterwards that I realized that Bona Drag went entirely unrepresented tonight.   Pity.  (“Interesting Drug” and “Disappointed” were trotted out in the later shows.) Moz reached even further back than that, though, culling several tunes from the Smiths-era catalog: “Stretch Out And Wait,” “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me,” “Shoplifters Of The World Unite,” and of course “How Soon Is Now?,” which closed out the show to mad cheers.

This is the last song I will ever sing
No: I’ve changed my mind again
Good night, and thank you

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