It was a perfect late-Summer evening out in Queens as the impossible Morrissey played to a pretty packed crowd with the help of hometown moody setters Interpol.
It feels a bit criminal to watch an Interpol set outdoors in daylight, but the brooding post-punk revivalists stuck to their traditional, all black suits and firmly placed sunglasses as they tore through a brief set (in their standards) that did a great job of representing the band's now rather illustrious discography. Paul Banks' usual croon felt like a nice pairing and a bit of an amouse bouche for what was to come later, the Smiths and Moz's career an obvious nod to the group's work that many actually assume the group is from England and not a couple of guys who met in Philosophy class at NYU. While their latest material sounds best live and peppered into a set of more recognizable hits, it's still clear that their first two records will never seem to disappoint and as soon as they broke out "NYC," "Evil," and "Slow Hands," the crowd's energy soared and reminded everyone just how much they loved these songs nearly fifteen years ago and how they can still spark up a bit or magic, even on an early night far removed from the darkened Bowery where they got their start.
By now most are aware that being a Morrissey fan is rather difficult. Whether he's making the venue go vegetarian for the night, cancelling shows at nearly the last minute, or making some rather insulting and offensive comments, it's often hard to look past his human characteristics and justify loving his music and lyrics. However, for those who can separate the art from the artist, Morrissey is someone to whom few hold a candle. The Cult of Morrissey is still something that most can't comprehend, but his loyal fan base seems to have no signs of shrinking and being at one of his shows just goes to show how far the obsession can go for people. Rushing the stage and stretching their hands out for a chance to grab his hand for a moment of bliss or the repeated shouts of his name after each track is a rather rare experience to witness at a show, but the level of loyalty here is unmatched. For his set itself, Moz avoided more of the hits and played only a handful of songs from his glorious past. A lot of the material were covers from his latest record and a light mix of fan favorites. "Munich Air Disaster 1958," "Seasick, Yet Still Docked," and "Jack the Ripper" were huge delights, but the lack of more classics from his old band left people wanting more. Performance wise, his voice was incredible and he carried each song with perfect poise, whipping around his microphone cord and making choice hand gestures made it seem like he still had a bit of a heart in his stage show. He wore a sparkling green suit that only seemed like a minor attribute to someone of his stature, but really was just another note of his confidence and arrogance. For the encore, he returned wearing his own t-shirt (he kept the sparkly pants) which again strengthened narcissistic qualities but when he dropped the one-two punch of "Everyday is Like Sunday" and "How Soon is Now" opinions were out the window. Without question, the best two sounding songs of the night, it felt like the show was about to hit its new peak. "How Soon is Now" was booming and powerful, the angular guitars raging across the stage as he ripped off his shirt (Hulk Hogan style) and threw it into a frenzied crowd. Then, without as much as a thank you, he left the stage once again as the house lights came back to signal the end of the night (about 30 minutes earlier than the imposed curfew). It was a fitting way to end from a man with such an ego, ending on such a high that it almost made everyone forget of what else could've happened. A true showman indeed.
03 "If You Really Love Nothing"
04 "The Heinrich Maneuver"
06 "Stay in Touch"
08 "The Rover"
09 "Rest My Chemistry"
11 "The New"
12 "Slow Hands"
13 "Obstacle 1"
02 "Alma Matters"
03 "Hairdresser on Fire"
04 "I Wish You Lonely"
05 "Satan Rejected My Soul"
06 "Morning Starship" (Jobriath cover)
07 "Wedding Bell Blues" (Laura Nyro cover)
08 "Lady Willpower" (Gary Puckett & the Union Gap cover)
09 "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"
10 "If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look at Me"
11 "Munich Air Disaster 1958"
12 "Seasick, Yet Still Docked
13 "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself"
14 "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"
15 "Never Again Will I Be a Twin"
16 "Back on the Chain Gang" (The Pretenders cover)
17 "The Bullfighter Dies"
18 "Jack the Ripper"
19 "Some Say (I Got Devil)" (Melanie cover)
20 "Irish Blood, English Heart"
21 "Everyday Is Like Sunday"
22 "How Soon Is Now?"