I’ve been to a good number of shows at the Fitzgerald Theater, but it’s a rare artist that will cause the audience to stand at attention and crush their bodies against the stage starting an hour before the concert begins. However, when Morrissey comes to town (after cancelling three prior shows), no one in the audience wanted to risk missing a moment by sitting down. In the hour-and-a-half-hour (two hours, if you count the video montage) show, Morrissey proved to just as mesmerizing, emotional, and dramatic as could have been hoped.
The show started promptly at 8:30 p.m. with Morrissey’s video compilation. It felt like a rare glimpse into the mind, or at very least the YouTube history, of the Smiths front man. The 30-minute teaser ranged from bands Morrissey loves (New York Dolls, Ike and Tina, Ramones) to various drag show performances to suicidal poetry readings to flamenco dancing. Once the video ended the screen was pulled up, unveiling Morrissey in jeans and a black button-up with a slight smile welcoming the crowd by saying, “We are the world,” before starting the concert off with “Suedehead.”
I have never been to a Morrissey show before, so I don’t know if this is normal, but not one, not two, but three different people tried to either jump on stage or pull Morrissey into the audience at various points in the show (don’t worry, the beefy crew members of the touring crew gently guided each of these gentlemen away from the object of their affection). With the adoration typically focused on tween boy bands, everyone rushed to have their hand touched by Moz. The crowd excitement caused one of the downer moments of the show: Morrissey was starting a story about being back in Minnesota, and after being interrupted several times by “woohoo” and “I love you” Morrissey decided that he was done talking and after that only gave the crowd a curt “thank you” between songs.
Morrissey kept the show humming at a brisk pace, but still was able to get several messages across. There seemed to be a strong message about police brutality, with an intense video compilation of police attacks on humans and dogs during “Ganglord.” And, since it’s Morrissey, there was the animal slaughter compilation that played during one of the few Smiths songs, “Meat Is Murder.” Morrissey, though, knows his audience and before the one-song encore he went off stage to change into a flowing purple button-up. After taking a few bows with his band, Morrissey said, “We all know what this is about, we’ll play one more and then say buh-bye.” And, with the last few notes of “What She Said,” he ripped off his shirt and tossed it into the audience.