Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Always True Part 1: Staples Center

Morrissey Listening to Words of Love and Loyalty
The life of a rock star is tough, especially if you are NOT a rock star.

 What a weekend! It began at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (or Moz Angeles as they say), and ended Saturday night at Hollywood High in the auditorium. I have spent Sunday and part of today, Monday, recovering from the excitement and the exertion from all of it.

I found school quite difficult to live through on Friday. Don't get me wrong. Despite complaining a bit I love my students. And since I have thus far failed at becoming a writer, I feel like teaching is the next best thing. Still, the golden lights of the performance world sometimes lures us into the night life. Thus, was my passion on Friday.

The Drive
I was on the freeway singing to Patti Smith (Horses) at 4:30 and arrived around 6 at the Staples Center which is pretty good for a Friday night. I parked the car, and quickly found my friend Jasmine (@Morrizzy) waiting first in line. I realized my dozen of red roses was not going to make it into the venue so I quickly wrapped them into my Smiths sweater after decimating the stems. If you did not know, the roses were for Morrissey. I feel naked if I don't have at least one to bring with me to his performances. Of course, blue roses would have been better (Blue Rose Society) but they are not easy to get last minute and hey, red is better than dead!

We quickly made our way to be first in line on the floor level. I just wanted to know what my seat was like. I had floor seating but it was not at the very front so I was just curious. As we waited we could hear the sound check and it was "How Soon is Now?" which made my excitement even more palpable. Once the security let us in, I found my seat which was pretty far back and I realized that after people filled in the floor, it would not be easy to see anything. There was a security check for the Floor 1, which was just in front of my section. I just thought I'd have to give it time. I sat there contemplating things with my heart racing with excitement and realized I should get a beer. What the hell!

After getting my beer I ran into Johnny (@johnnyinacoma) and Mauricio (I don't know his Twitter name-which is kind of ironic). We looked over the merchandise and I ended up getting a shirt with Morrissey and the cat on his head on a stamp. Then also, I purchased a Morrissey bracelet. 

 Johnny, Mauricio, and I decided to walk around just to get a feel for what was going on and we stopped again for a beer. It was then I realized that I did not have my ticket. I could easily envision someone wandering into my section on the floor seating. Grrr. But following Johnny and Mauricio's advice I asked security person who eventually located my lost ticket. That was a huge relief. Security had found it on the floor! I was very grateful.

Go Veggie
Also, it was a huge night for PETA people and other animal rights advocates as The Staples Center was meat-free as per Morrissey's request. I heard that there were some vendors upstairs selling food with meat but McDonald's was closed and that in itself was HUGE. Morrissey scored BIG points this weekend!!

The Performances
I met some Morrissey fans I had not met before including Roy's Keith (FB) and then we went in since Patti was up. I ran into the K/Crystals in my section about two rows ahead of me. We said hi and it was then that I heard Patti begin her set. I couldn't believe how close she was and how few people were at the stage. I quickly said, "See you later," and made a bee line to the stage forgetting, ignoring, and passing security. I was up at the stage. I was so excited, I waved to Patti and she waved back!!! I was over the moon. I can't even begin to put words into how much I admire Patti Smith. I read a book she wrote (Just Kids) about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer) and her voice is still with me. I just could NOT believe it!

I like the way Patti takes a swig of water and spits it out on the stage. Its just so punk rock! 

I was actually losing my ability to breathe! I kept smiling looking around, really relishing the time. I cannot find her set list so I apologize but I sang along to "Because the Night" (which was dedicated to Fred "Sonic" Smith on what would have been their anniversary), "People Have the Power," and "Gloria" among many others. Perhaps I looked the fool to her but I was over the moon! 

Quietly, ever so quietly, I began to realize that I had done a difficult thing in such an easy way. Security began to slowly move people to either side of Patti at the rail and it was then I lost my key spot, dead center. It sucked because we (the people in the audience and near the stage), were just singing our hearts out and all of a sudden her audience is being parted like Moses parted the Red Sea. She was brilliant but all I remember of her departing song was trying to hang onto my great spot at the front rail.

Then security began to check for pink bracelets which meant you were in the first few rows. If you did not have a bracelet, they told you to go back in a rather rude manner. Afraid they'd ask to see my ticket, I tried to hide. I made temporary friends with a German lady named Anita and a rockabilly guy and his girlfriend who complemented my style. In fact, they told me they'd hide me from security, and they tried but a gruff woman basically pushed me back where I joined the other people who had "illegally" entered the border of Section 1. 

While the music videos of various artists such as Nico, Shocking Blue and the New York Dolls were playing, I moved to the far right side of the stage (my right) and sat in an empty seat about two rows from the front. I bided my time until the lights went out and Morrissey and his band appeared. Then I somewhat clumsily climbed over chairs to get to the rail finally losing my balance on the last one, but regained my footing just in time for the first song.

 Here is the set list:
"Shoplifters of the World" 
"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"
"I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"
"Meat is Murder"
"Ouija Board, Ouija Board"
"November Spawned a Monster"
"To Give (the Reason I Live)" Frankie Valli Cover
"How Soon is Now?"
"Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"
"Everyday is Like Sunday"
"Let Me Kiss You"
"First of the Gang to Die"
"The Boy with the Thorn in His Side"

Hand in (Latex) Glove
I had a dozen red roses with me in the hopes that Morrissey would take one. I had this idea of wearing a blue latex glove on the hand that passed him the rose. Its kind of lame but it was meant to make him notice my hand among the sea of hands grasping for him in the shadows. I also thought that it kind of went with Morrissey's illness theme. But the chasm between the stage and the rail was simply too wide and I was so far on the side near the PA or some large speaker-type thing that I could not reach him. Nor could he reach me or anyone else. The "hand in glove" made no difference. In an attempt at a humorous gesture, I simply put the rose in my teeth and smiled up at him, reaching into the air below him. 

Blue Rose Society Gives Morrissey THE RING!
The highlight for me was when Morrissey gave my friends Jasmine and Angie (who I had not yet met) the mic. She said, "In honor of The Blue Rose Society will you accept this gift?" Morrissey said yes. They gave him a ring that has been traveling around via other Blue Rose Society members. He then asked for the flowers which Jasmine had smuggled in but were now dead. Thinking quickly she handed him her blue rose hair clip. Bear in mind, I could only hear what was going on as could 20,000 people. I just was on the other side of the stage. As soon as "November Spawned a Monster" began Morrissey began tossing Jasmine's blue rose clip in the air to the beat of the music.

During the concert as I faced the excitement of the stage, I looked out among the thousands of people, everyone-even the ones up in the "rafters." I thought that they must have been wondering what it was like to be so close to the stage. I certainly felt lucky! I felt sorry for the folk who didn't get the sensation of feeling like their skin was falling off until all that was left was a skeleton from pure joy and elation.

Morrissey's voice was amazing, stronger than ever, which did not surprise me. He was looking well-not like one who had some serious medical issues for the past few weeks. One fan asked him how he was and he said, "Okay."

 Another thanked him for keeping us sane. He said, "Thank you for keeping me sane."

The chasm between the stage and the floor was so wide, only one guy made it up on the stage. 

The concert went by so fast, and every song was one I loudly sang along with, as did so many people in the arena. It was actually a bit of a communal experience. Everyone around me was pretty cordial and I surely hope the guy in front of me at the rail knew that I did not intentionally repeatedly touch his butt.

I saw a throng of people screaming and gathering around a section as we departed. I heard someone say that it was Quentin Tarentino. I've mentioned my inability to recognize famous people before. I guess I may have known it was him though since he reportedly was wearing an Inglorious Bastards jacket. Wonder if he'll include any Morrissey songs in a film. 

The After Party
I met the K/Crystals by the restroom and we attempted to meet the band as they had done last year in San Diego. Yes, I felt like a stalker. It was kind of awkward but we had fun. Then I grabbed what was left of my roses in one hand and a stick (for protection) in the other and walked to my car. So, yeah, our after party was kind of "high school" but I had more fun than if we'd gone to a bar-although the C/Krystals did end up going to Mal's Bar where Jose (Maldonado) was spinning some records. 

Concert friends are kind of funny because we hang out and experience this great thing together or simply at the same time and then once the concert is over we just leave. Sometimes you don't even say good-bye. But by saying that, I'm not complaining! It simplifies things. You are there for the same reason and its really about the music in the end, isn't it?

I had a long drive home but was filled with excitement for the concert on Saturday. 

Part 2 will be posted soon. Sorry for such a long blog but it was a MEGA MOZ weekend. So much to tell. Also, apart from the Patti Smith photos, they are from my collection I took on Saturday, March 3 at Hollywood High.

Also, for a full explanation and account of The Blue Rose Society, please visit


  1. Andrea, this is a fantastic piece of writing, your excitement can be felt bursting through your keyboard. The whole MorrisseysWorld and Blue Rose phenomenon have been nothing short of a, er, phenomenon and we are so lucky to have found it and 'lived' it. This is history in the making, and you were there!
    Thank you for mentioning my blog too.


  2. Thank you Andrea! Now just hoping for Morrissey get well soon!