Tonight I will finally see Morrissey perform.
Although this requires heading in Atlanta (something I never like to do) and the tickets weren’t exactly inexpensive I have to admit that I’m fully psyched to see him. Almost to the point that his performance is beside the point. And that’s problematic because it can only mean that, to a certain extent, I’ve mentally switched Morrissey from an artist to a personality. Certainly, one can be both but I tend to focus on what an artist does and not who he is. That is, it’s the art that matters not the artist. And it’s this stance which allows me to tolerate, even enjoy, the works of hundreds of people who are, most likely completely, unbearable. Still, my date with Morrissey is a long time coming and while I’ll never see the show I was supposed to see I am happy enough just to have the opportunity to see him on stage at all.
But, let me back up…
In 1987, I was a high school sophomore and The Smiths had just release Strangeways, Here We Come. Unbelievably, the band was to play Atlanta’s Fox Theater and I had a ticket for the show. A few other kids at my school had tickets, too, and we talked about the show for weeks beforehand. We were incredibly excited about it.
Anyway, the day of the show arrives and I patiently endure a full day of classes just waiting for that 3:15 bell so I could head into downtown Atlanta. Back then a standard pre-show ritual was to leave in the mid-afternoon and spend a few hours shopping for records, eating pizza and basically goofing off before heading to whatever venue was the ultimate destination. So I drive down there and do all that and finally arrive in the parking lot next to The Fox. I had entered from a side street and had not yet see the marquee. As I strolled up the sidewalk I looked up and received the news that broke my heart:
In a mix of indignation and sadness I got back in my car, headed straight back up I-75 to the then-relatively-rural Marietta, GA, walked straight into the now-defunct Turtles Records & Tapes on Canton Road and turned my ticket in for a refund. I cannot tell you how many times I wished I had saved that unused ticket for an non-played show, especially considering that the refund was only $11.75. (The tickets for tonight’s show were almost 6 times this amount.)
Morrissey began his solo career pretty soon afterward and I never had the opportunity (which, for the purposes of this discussion, constitute an intersection of available funds,transportation and reasonable proximity) to see him until now. I would have originally seen The Smiths when Morrissey was 28. Now, he is 48. So, I’ll never see the lean, sexually ambiguous , dramatic and hilarious Moz but I will see the defiant, repatriated, elder statesman. And I really hate the term “elder statesman”, too. But, that’s that and I accept it.
MP3: Morrissey-Moon River