Morrissey @ The Rabobank Theater, Bakersfield CA 06/10/07
WOW. After three years of waiting I finally get to see the man, the legend. In case anyone’s wondering, Bakersfield is a quasi-metropolis that rests at the southern most point of the Central Valley, California. It’s a gateway to the Grapevine and the Los Angeles Basin.. It’s dry with an unending brownish landscape. It’s cheap real estate and low key and hot as Hell, not too different from Fresno, California. And an artist like this coming to the area is like a sorely needed breath of fresh air.
Very few big name acts visit this area. So when I heard Morrissey would be gracing the Central Valley with his presence I practically tripped over myself for tickets. He played the Rabobank Theater, a newer venue with 3-4,000 capacity. Place was almost sold out, but featured a very diverse and vocal crowd. There were a lot of youngsters in the crowd as well, children to lifelong fans. Some of the young boys sported the rockabilly greaser look, too cool. Morrissey mentioned seeing many children in the audience, saying “…and they’re ALL miiiiiine.” 🙂 The legendary Julia was also at this show, Morrissey even let her speak into the mic from the front row. I always thought that woman was made up, but no, she’s real, and has probably attended every Morrissey show in existence. Great crowd, awesome performance. Voice was in fine form and there were plenty of stage crashers. Glad I caught this one. This is an act to see before you die. Ah yes, FIVE Smiths songs were featured including the immortal “How Soon is Now?” My personal favorite that night was “The Boy With a Thorn In His Side” and I’m not ashamed to admit that I got misty eyed. That baby hasn’t been performed regularly since the end of the Smiths in 1986. It’s not uncommon for fans to say things like “Morrissey saved me” or “The Smiths saved me.” Morrissey and his music have long been champions of the misunderstood, the losers, misfits and the disabled. He speaks to those who’ve been ignored and shunned, making the audience’s connection to him rather messianic. Afterall, some of his nicknames include The Mozfather, The Pope of Mope and St. Morrissey. The music is magical – dreamy sounding britpop with rockabilly thrown in. Add emotional (and often morose and depressing) lyrics and you have music that is uniquely aching, uniquely beautiful.
The band was killer, spot on. However I was disappointed that guitarist Alain White, bassist Gary Day and drummer Dino Butterworth were no longer with the touring band. Those guys along with Boz Boorer (second guitar) and Mikey Farrell (keys) made up what I considered the second classic Morrissey lineup. That’s the lineup that’s documented on the Who Put the ‘M’ in Manchester DVD. Musicians come and go, but missing those three particular musicians is like missing family members or old friends. There is a fondness for that particular line-up, much like there was a fondness for the original incarnation of the Morrissey band with Spencer Cobrin on drums. Now the second classic lineup has been scattered. THEY were the Morrissey band during his comeback era. Newcomers Jesse Tobias, Solomon and Matt Walker rounded out the live band for this tour and would stay on for subsequent tours, however Farrell would eventually part ways with Morrissey to pursue work as a producer and song writer in LA, leaving Boz Boorer the only veteran from the early days of Morrissey’s solo career.
First of the Gang To Die
Last of the Famous International Playboys
You Have Killed Me
In the Future When All is Well
Let Me Kiss You
That’s How People Grow Up
National Front Disco
Girlfriend in a Coma
Everyday is Like Sunday
The Boy With a Thorn In His Side
Irish Blood English Heart
All You Need is Me
You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side
I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty
How Soon is Now?
The Queen is Dead