Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coachella: Morrissey

I hereby dedicate this post to Nicole Silander who learnt the lyrics to The Smiths' Ask with me when we were 15.

I remember very clearly exactly where I was when The Smiths split up in 1987 but it didn't stop my fervent teenage adoration of Morrissey whose image papered my dormitory walls. Nic & I used to carry around daffodils in homage and had Smiths lyrics written all over our pencil cases and ring binders. We wore sloppy cardis just like Morrissey too. (Click here for photographic evidence of us in prime late 80s Smiths-type clothing).

I've never managed to catch a Morrissey gig before, so opening night at Coachella was the realisation of all my teen adoration. I have to say that he is rather portly and very grumpy now, but I can forgive anything for a man who opens his set with This Charming Man, and follows it with First Of The Gang To Die.

The set was patchy tho: Although he belted out Ask and his more recent work, he seemed to forget the lyrics to Girlfriend in a Coma (oh God, the bliss of hearing that live), and had a vegetarian tantrum at the smell of barbecued sausages drifting over the stage during Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others which he failed to finish, stomping off into the wings to escape the flesh-fest and change his sweaty shirt. Which he then removed completely during Let Me Kiss You.

I do feel sorry for musicians whose solo careers are haunted by past group glories. His recent solo work may be perfectly good (altho shades of Billy Bragg-esque agit-prop rather than his usual nuanced, tongue in cheek references), but I'm afraid we were there for The Smiths songs and a good healthy dose of nostalgia.

Most of the audience didn't really get it, but the glorious crashing chords of a perfectly produced How Soon Is Now seemed to poke them into life and the crowd surged forward, seemingly finally engaging. Shame it was the last song. And I suspect the irony of the lyrics passed them by.

Anyway here he is in all his glory:

And here is the set list:
This Charming Man
First of the Gang to Die
Black Cloud
Girlfriend In A Coma
Irish Blood, English Heart
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
When Last I Spoke to Carol
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Seaside, Yet Still Docked
The Loop
Sorry Doesn't Help
Let Me Kiss You
How Soon Is Now?