I remember when I was first introduced to the music of The Smiths. It was the summer after 8th grade, and I was shipped off to a summer, boarding program called C.T.Y. [Insert nerd jokes here]. I always enjoyed spending the summers away from home (I went to my first summer boarding school after 6th grade). Studying asides, I saw boarding school as an opportunity to meet new people and to learn to be somewhat autonomous.
At the time, I was listening to a lot of KDAY, so my music inclinations leaned more towards hip-hop. I had some alternative rock in my music collection, mostly Depeche Mode … in fact, at the time, my alternative music collection was all Depeche Mode… so every time I was introduced to new music I, tended to soak it all in.
There was a guy in my dormitory who was all about alternative music. He listened to Jane’s Addiction, Pixies… and the Smiths. We did a music swap, and made mix-tapes on cassette tapes (remember those?) for each other. I wish I still had that cassette tape, but I remember some of the tracks were “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side“, “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “How Soon Is Now“
I remember being taken aback by The Smiths music. It was a “new” type of rock music for me. It had hints of pop and rockabilly, but what really got me, was Morrissey’s vocal style. Morrissey’s croon captured my attention, and his lyrics, though very forlorn, was just so soothing to listen too.
After that summer, I kept up with Morrissey’s solo career, and over the years, I’ve amassed a nice little collection of The Smiths and Morrissey. Perhaps my favorite purchase is my most recent one, a live album titled “Panic!” of The Smith, which was recorded in Germany in 1986, that I bought November 24th, 2013. I even posted a picture of the album when I first played it on Instagram.
Ironically enough, the day I purchased the album, was the day Morrissey was originally supposed to perform at the Staples Center. That show was cancelled due to his mother being hospitalized. I didn’t know it then, it wasn’t until a few weeks later when I visited another record store about the cancelled show. I saw the poster, and convinced the owner of Touch Vinyl to let me have it (after I bought a couple other albums). I figured it was a sign that I needed to get tickets to the rescheduled show, so I stopped by the box office when I was at the Staples Center for a Clippers game. Morrissey had been cancelling some concerts in recent days due to health concerns (bleeding ulcer) … thankfully he didn’t cancel the March 1, 2013 show.
While Morrissey’s health may not be 100%, his voice sounded amazing. It was a solid 19 song set, that mixed in old hits, new music and several The Smiths songs. I was sitting in the nose-bleed section, and there was no video monitor projecting the performance on stage, but a ticket is a ticket, and it’s Morrissey.
I could care less about Morrissey’s politics. I could care less about the news about meat being sold at the Staples Center. If you cared about that shit, you should have given your ticket to someone else who cared more about the music.
Morrissey and the band took their bows before they started playing. It’s the first time I have ever noticed a band or artist do so. The crowd went nuts, and Morrissey kicked off his concert with The Smiths song “Shoplifters of the World Unite”, one of the songs that was on heavy rotation on KROQ back in the day, and it seemed like all of Los Angeles who grew up during that time, were at the show.
Morrissey’s performance was all that you could have expected. His style hasn’t changed since I first heard him, and the themes that he’s known for … loneliness, heartaches, letdown, isolation … all came out through the music, though it did seem slightly ironic considering he sells out arenas. And the crowd loved it. Morrissey’s set list is below, with some video clips I took.
Immediately below is a clip of Patti Smith performing her classic “Because The Night”. She dedicated it to her deceased husband Fred “Sonic” Smith, and it was the highlight of her set. Maybe she was the perfect opening for Morrissey because the night really did belong to lovers … of Morrissey.
Morrissey Set List
- Shoplifters Of The World Unite (The Smiths song)
- Irish Blood, English Heart
- Alma Matters
- You Have Killed Me
- You’re The One For Me, Fatty
- Action Is My Middle Name
- That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (The Smiths song)
- I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
- Meat Is Murder (The Smiths song)
- Ouija Board, Ouija Board
- November Spawned A Monster
- To Give (The Reason I Live) (Frankie Valli cover)
- How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths song)
- Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (The Smiths song)
- Everyday Is Like Sunday
- Let Me Kiss You
- First Of The Gang To Die