November Spawned a Mozzer
Last week, as I was sifting through the hundreds of e-mails that greeted me upon my return from a week of vacation, I found one that especially caught my eye: "$35 Tickets Released for Morrissey at DAR Constitution Hall!" A year or so ago I would have thought nothing of it. "Still way too much," probably would have been my reaction. And that's not just a slight to Morrissey -- there are very few acts out there that I would consider paying $35 to see. (Update: Forget $35! An e-mail just landed in my inbox saying that $20 tickets to Friday's show will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m.) But that all changed a few months ago on a beautiful summer night at Wolf Trap.
I like Brit-pop heroes the Smiths just fine, even if I don't understand the crazed devotion that the band still inspires to this day. (Chalk it up to dreaded '80s production that makes much of what was released that decade borderline unlistenable to me.) That crazed devotion transferred to Morrissey's solo career, where his legions now see him as a major deity. And while I can't say I'm a full-fledged member of the Cult of the Moz, as I walked out of Wolf Trap that night all I could think to myself was: "Now I get it." Rarely have I been so moved by a show. Granted, expectations may have played a large role in this. The performance almost didn't happen since Morrissey was suffering from vocal problems; the previous four shows had been canceled and the following three ended up not happening, either. But Morrissey hardly seemed under the weather that Monday night. As I wrote in my review of the show: "The pompadoured Pope of Mope's dramatic croon wasn't flawless, but it was close enough. There were a few times when he did seem to be laboring, clutching at his chest with an almost pained look on his face. But then again maybe he was just, you know, being Morrissey."
Lots of performers try to cultivate some sort of magnetism while up on stage, but for Morrissey it just comes naturally. To his legions this goes without saying, but I was a skeptic until I witnessed it in person. You really can't take your eyes off him when he's up there singing like only he can, using the microphone chord as a lasso, accepting gifts from audience members, etc. Wolf Trap is almost exclusively a calm and serene setting for a show, but Morrissey was able to inspire small pockets of mayhem just by his presence. And it should also be noted that on a purely musical level, the show was remarkable. The Moz's current five-piece backing band packs quite a punch, so don't think you'll be hearing anything wispy. The harder sound is consistent with Morrissey's two most recent albums, "You Are the Quarry" and "Ringleader of the Tormentors," which provided plenty of highlights, in addition to some Smiths chestnuts and hits from his earlier solo albums.
In the days after the show I was hoping for a quick return. Four months is about as good as it gets. Friday night I won't be rushing the stage or tossing flowers on it, but I don't doubt my heart rate will kick into another gear when the Moz hits the stage. If you've always wanted to join a cult, but didn't want the usual living-on-a-ranch-in-a-secluded-part-of-the-country thing that goes along with it, Friday night might be exactly what you need.
Posted by: DC | November 1, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: David | November 1, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse
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