Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Moz Olympics

Maya, Mason, Me at FYF featuring the Great Moz
There is something undeniably special about being in the same room with him. Sharing the same space with Morrissey that makes you grateful to be alive at this moment in time. Not that you wish you lived in a different era, but watching him perform, sing, you KNOW you are somewhere special-you are living in a special time.

San Diego, August 20
Before we went to the San Diego show, my husband, Roland, looked at some reviews of the venue-The Observatory North Park. He mentioned that it had some pretty bad reviews regarding the staff and the sound. Now, Roland is particularly interested in the sound as he has experience in the field of sound engineering and he teaches a high school course on music production. So we were concerned but hopeful.

We arrived in San Diego and parked across the street from the venue. I always feel this pang in my stomach when I see a line. Like maybe I should be in line, but I decided to just focus on food and then we ran into Stephanie. We found a vegan Mexican place just around the corner called Ranchos Cocina so we had a meal and some margaritas. It was good but I had trouble relaxing. I guess I wanted to get to the show. We were probably secretly hoping Morrissey would be in there for his pre-show meal. 

We arrived at the venue at 7 and they had opened the doors. Roland bee-lined it for a spot behind the sound man. Hot tip: that's the BEST place to hear. Lucky for us, it also had the best view. 

Stephanie and Roland didn't seem bothered about not having a beer but I wanted to have a beer. The bar is connected to the venue but you are not allowed INTO the venue with alcohol. I did not realize this and I had the biggest can of Modelo and I didn't really want ALL of it for fear I'd have to miss part of the show to use the restroom. So I guzzled as much as I could and then I ran into Jose and Christine. Then we ran into Jenevieve and her friend, Monica. So I had help drinking my beer. 

Jose, Me, Christine and Jenevieve
We had such a great view of Morrissey and I can say with honesty that it did not matter where you stood in line, you still would have had a chance to get up front. We were happy where we were. And I guess apart from our view, the thing that really struck me about that night was the set list. 

Here it is: 

  1. Suedehead
  2. Alma Matters
  3. Staircase at the University
  4. Ganglord
  5. Speedway
  6. Kiss Me A Lot
  7. World Peace is None of Your Business
  8. Let The Right One Slip In (Last performed live in 19912)
  9. Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before
  10. What She Said
  11. The Bullfighter Dies
  12. Now My Heart Is Full
  13. Will Never Marry
  14. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
  15. Istanbul
  16. I Will See You In Far Off Places
  17. Meat Is Murder
  18. Encore: Everyday Is Like Sunday
The video accompanying "Ganglord" was quite violent and shocking. However, abuse of authority is an important theme to Morrissey and this was made evident. I could not watch all of it, especially violence committed against animals,  but from what I did see, it left a powerful impression.

Christine and I were a bit shocked at the audience's subdued reaction to "Let The Right One Slip In" (last performed live in 1992). Morrissey even seemed perhaps surprised when he said it was a hit in Sweden. Our guess was that it was a younger crowd closer to the front. The crowd around us was a little uptight too.  

I think our little group, Jenevieve, her friend, Veronica, Stephanie, Jose, Chrsitine, Mason, me, and Roland were more animated than the crowd at the front. Part of it may also be that people like to take video which makes them stand more still for recording purposes. When you are behind the camera, you are not as able to be fully in the moment. There is literally a barrier between you and the performer. 

The reviews about the sound and the staff at The Observatory North Park were wrong. I can only say from our vantage point the sound was great. Also, the staff was polite butI was not one of the people perhaps trying to get on the stage.

FYF Fest, Los Angeles, August 23
I really don't like festivals that much but when I was offered a ticket to FYF Festival I did not turn it down. It was VERY last minute but after the San Diego show, I REALLY was addicted again and was happy to go.

As much as I love Morrissey, I just did NOT want to wait in front of the main stage for hours to see him up close. I had just seen him in San Diego and had a perfect view so I wasn't bothered. I basically drove there, parked and walked to the main stage (which was far, let me tell you). 

I ran into breakfast champions, Maya, Mason, Keith and Jen. Maya and I tried to be brave enough to deal with being in the thick of the crowd but the smell of people who had been sweating all day and drinking all day in the hot sun was more than we could bear. We ended up standing on the side and we ran into Danica and her friends there.

They changed up the rhythm to "First of the Gang" so it sounded kind of country. This inspired Danica and I to do the doe-see-doe square dance style. I guess the good thing about a festival is there are so many weirdos its unlikely anyone will call you out if you act like a complete nut job.

Breakfast champs at FYF
Visalia Fox Theater, August 29
It's a 4 hour drive from the OC to Visalia. Four hours of driving on a very boring highway. Just fields and fields. But I knew the drive was going to be worth it. This was the final show on Morrissey's brief Southern/Northern California mini tour.

All the people I know had General Admission seats that basically meant they were standing near the stage. My seat was in the next section. So, when the security guy was helping someone find their seat, I just walked past him and made it to where Mason, Keith, Jen, Rodney and the Battis sisters were. It was the right side of the stage where Jesse Tobias and Gustavo are situated on the stage.

Marquee in Visalia
In all my experiences sneaking up to the front, this was the closest I ever got to Morrissey. And I guess even better than just being at the front was it was the very first time I was surrounded by my friends. I don't think I had too many Moz friends a few years ago.

When Moz was singing and came close to the audience, we held out our hands and he touched Rodney and his wife's hands. I was next to them. It could have been me but it was not to be. Yet, when he was singing "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and he looked down, I think we looked each other in the eye for a brief moment as we sang the words, "I still love you, only slightly, only slightly less than I used to, my love." Only, Morrissey sang, "Only slightly MORE than I used to.". I'm sure for him, it was nothing, utterly forgettable, but for me it was something.

Lucky to have such a great view
Still, he sings "Meat Is Murder" at nearly every concert (although he did not on the 2nd San Diego show), and although people often avoided looking at the video of animals losing their lives in slaughter houses projected on the backdrop, he did not give up because it is his passion, his cause. When he sang, "Do you care?" in the middle of that song, I found it very moving because I could sense that although he has sung this countless times and he can see an element of disinterest, he perseveres. 

The evening ended with a gathering of Breakfast Champions at a small bar down the street from the Visalia Fox Theater. Vanessa, Mel, Stacy, Stephanie (from San Jose), Mason, Amy Battis, Rodney and Belinda (from LA). We pretty much took over the bar with our Morrissey and Smiths music and danced the rest of the night away. People stared and we let them stare because it's not like any other love.

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