Morrissey @ The Rabobank Theater, Bakersfield CA 05/12/12
Sigh….what started out as a thunderous show quickly turned into a big “what the heck?” kind of experience. This was our second occasion seeing the British Elvis, The Mozfather, The Pope of Mope, The Miserable One, etc., and although the voice was in fine form, actually it was in superb form…and I’ve probably written it before, but his voice has aged like a fine wine and the man’s still “got it.” He’s lost a lot of weight and looks leaner as well. Anyway, although he sounded great, the song selections left much of the crowd scratching their heads or yawning. The first 6 or so songs lit a fire under the theater crowd. But everything after that, save for a few classics, made for a very confusing concert. Richard Blade, a DJ for satellite radio said it best – why would an artist with a wealth of great material play 10 or so b-sides, covers and obscure songs you’ve probably never heard? Maybe it’s ego. But anyway, great singing, great performance by the band, 3rd row seats, crappy setlist.
We left during what we thought was the last song of the night, The Smith’s Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me. It’s not my favorite Smiths Song and we were more interested in avoiding the traffic congestion…and Morrissey NEVER plays a second encore. I was dismayed to later hear that the band tore into an even better Smiths song, Still Ill, for the final song of the set. BUT…the group abandoned the stage half way through the song when 5 overzealous security staff pounced on a stage crasher. Morrissey said something like “5 security on one person…too macho, too macho, too macho,” and he stormed off the stage, with guitarist Boz Boorer giving the signal to kill the show. Whoa. It’s Morrissey culture that fans attempt to invade the stage during the encore to embrace and kiss the singer (men too). There’s a famous video filmed in 1995 (Introducing Morrissey) where 2 dozen or so fans successfully crash the stage and hug on the singer during “Speedway.” The phenomenon stuck ever since. Unfortunately, tonight’s rendition of “Speedway” was very anticlimactic. Ordinarily, “Speedway” is a rockin’ showstopper. But much of the power and passion had been sucked away, and this more tamed version is what we heard. The Smiths songs were played faithfully, and I think the live band has greatly improved the arrangements of tracks like “Shoplifters of the World,” “I Know It’s Over” and “Please Let Me Get What I Want.” This show could have been so much more…
You Have Killed Me
Shoplifters Of The World Unite (The Smiths)
You’re The One For Me, Fatty
How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths)
Ouija Board, Ouija Board
Everyday Is Like Sunday
To Give (The Reason I Live) (Frankie Valli cover)
Meat Is Murder (The Smiths)
Let Me Kiss You
People Are The Same Everywhere
I Will See You In Far Off Places
I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (The Smiths)
When Last I Spoke To Carol
I Know It’s Over (The Smiths)
Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (The Smiths)
Still Ill…sort of (The Smiths)
Odd moment of the show: Well, there were several odd moments. Boz in drag, the setlist, oh…the film! There was a very uncomfortable feeling in the venue when Meat Is Murder was performed. On the projector screen, footage from the film Meet Your Meat was played, showing troubling scenes of animal mutilation in the farming industry. The idea seemed an effective companion to the lyrics of the song, but it was too much. This is an agricultulral area afterall. Morrissey has always been a hero for the misfits, the misunderstood, the losers, and the disabled. THAT I identify with most. Despite the odd set, I’d still like to see him again. There was only one Elvis and one Sinatra. We still have Morrissey and I’ll see him so long as he’s alive.
Cool moments: Matt Walker’s drum kit. His bass drum reso heads were printed with our state flag. Nice tribute 🙂 And just being to see the Man up close was great.
Photographic proof of Boz in drag. Weird. Check out Matt’s bass drums!