LastNight: Morrissey at the Fillmore
Better than: your VHS copy of Oye Esteban!
Download: a performance of the new single "That's How People Grow Up" on Letterman
By Oscar Pascual
There’s something about a great voice that just won’t quit. Some of our best crooners have crooned way into their late lives. Before he was about to die, Frank Sinatra could still command a crowd as good as he did in his heyday. Tony Bennett’s face looks like it’s about to fall off his skull, but he can still sing “Fly Me to the Moon” like a saint. And in that grand tradition-- although not that old (or dead), but perhaps just as iconic-- Morrissey came to the Fillmore last night to steal our hearts away.
Morrissey began the first evening of four shows in SF ...
with an old favorite from The Smiths, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.” The crowd indeed heard that one before, as Morrissey’s voice was drowned out by the massive sing-along. This was hardly a good chance to gauge whether or not the Moz still had it in him, but that question was answered when playing songs from his latest release, as the sing-along dropped to near zero. While these songs may not be as classic and memorable as his favorites, it offered a chance to actually hear Morrissey, who sure can sing. Still.
Sporting a half-unbuttoned and sweaty-as-fuck dress shirt, Moz still hit all the beautiful high notes in his cautionary “Why Don’t You Find Out for Yourself” and the Smiths classic, teeming with sexual innuendo, “Stretch Out and Wait.” And even though Morrissey’s perceived to be celibate, he’s still capable of getting a little cheeky. He then spoke of a new science breakthrough of constructing fake wombs in women who can’t have kids, stating he wanted the procedure so as to avoid droves women claiming to be the baby mama. Good way to avoid the chickenheads. The pervasive sexuality doesn’t end there.
Newer songs like “You Have Killed Me” and “I Just Want to See the Boy Happy” gave time to adore the man’s performance before gearing up for the next big tune. It even gave time for some dudes to reverently throw roses at the stage. And I mean dudes. With goatees and ballcaps and whatnot. Morrissey seems to bring out some sort of innate homosexuality in his male fans. We don’t know what is it about the guy, but many have had to explain their love for the Moz by starting with the disclaimer, “You know, I’m not gay or nothing, but…” That usually ends with something they’d never say about another dude, like “I’d sure like to give him roses,” or “I’d sure like to give him a hug without his shirt on.” And I admit, I thought it to be quite sassy when Morrissey removed his soaked shirt after wonderfully performing “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,” as the Mozzer made a quick sign of the cross to offer penance for his mischievous bare chest.
Morrissey commanded the audience effortlessly last night and knew just how to work the crowd up. He would bring us to high points of excitement with recognizable favorites, only to tease and calm us down with new songs. Moz even left on the most perfect note, performing “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” for the final encore. I got what I wanted-- a great Moz performance, a chance to vent a little sexual confusion, and even thoughts of Ferris Bueller to cap it all off. You know I’m not gay or nothing, but Morrissey is a beautiful man.
Personal Bias-- moving here from Southern California, where I enjoyed many a Smiths/Moz tune with a greaser or chicano of some sort.
Random Detail-- The delicious smell of BBQ wafted into the air during his performance, which concerned me as I thought he would stop the set in protest with his meat-hating ass.
By The Way-- I've never seen so many ridiculous pompadours in my life. Moz excluded.
Click here for a photo slideshow from Paul Quitoriano