On This Glorious
Of The Splendid Defeat
Story and photo by Svenja
Morrissey is back, and he's better than ever.
With a critically-acclaimed new release, "Maladjusted,"
(1997) and an extensive tour in the US in the second half of the year, he has proven
that success without the Smiths is possible. He had lived in seclusion for
almost 2 years, his only public appearances made in London's High Court where he
and Johnny Marr, former Smiths guitarist, were sued by Mike Joyce,
former Smiths drummer, for £1,000,000 in outstanding performance royalties.
won the case but Morrissey seems to have recuperated well from the trial despite
the humiliation by the judge who, among other things, called him"devious"
and"truculent". To promote his new album Morrissey paid the United States
a rather long visit, his first tour since 1992, to perform in 47 cities, mostly on
the East and West Coast, surprisingly, ignoring Texas where many of his American
fans are based.
tour culminated in New York City at the sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom, a venue with
a capacity of 3,750. After having suffered from what he called the"New Brunswick
flu," he was in good spirits and, compared to his other concerts, extremely
talkative and interactive with the crowd.
a drum intro,"The Operation," taken from his 1995 release"Southpaw
Grammar," the band came on-stage, a black-clad Morrissey greeting the crowd,
"Hello, sexy." Having left his ever-present shyness backstage, he propelled
himself into"Do Your Best and Don't Worry" (Southpaw Grammar), moving about
the stage seemingly having a good time. "Hello, New Jersey" was his next
welcome, which elicited a decent amount of mock anger from the New Yorkers in attendance.
Launching into"Boy Racer" (SG), Morrissey, who after decades of celibacy,
now claims to have fallen in love twice, pomped his way around the stage, using huge
lascivious gestures and being quite the thespian against his usual homoerotic backdrop,
this time a large photograph of Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter cavorting in a swimming
pool. To everybody's delight, The Smiths' eruptive and powerful"London"
made its first solo stage appearance since the group broke up in 1987 and was received
with sheer excitement,even though Morrissey's band struggled to"nail a perfect
With a critically-acclaimed new release, "Maladjusted,"
(1997) and an extensive tour in the US...he has proven that success without the Smiths
Budd" (Vauxhall & I, 1993) was followed by a short interruption due to technical
problems that bassist Johnny Bridgwood was experiencing, leaving Morrissey some time
to decipher a sign a fan was holding up.Technical problems solved,the ballad "Hold
on to your friends" (V & I) was beautifully played by the band, bringing
out the best in Moz' voice. He attempted to receive a gift from a fan in the front
row by "inviting" her on-stage but due to very tight security, possibly
the roughest throughout the tour, he gave up, obviously irritated by the"peace
- keeper's" behavior.
Rockabilly number, "Why don't you find out for yourself" (V & I) introduced
the acoustic set and was followed by a sincere"Thank you," the theme of
the night. How appropriate, considering it was Thanksgiving Eve. He addressed the
fans thanking"all of you who have travelled around with us," emphasizing"it
made a great difference." The acoustic session continued, introducing the first
song taken from"Maladjusted,""Ambitious Outsiders," containingthe
lyrics "Well, it's your own fault for reproducing" and "Don't underestimate
us - We're just keeping the population down", sung with scorn and vengeful passion.
"Reader Meet Author" (SG) was characterized by an exhilarating stage invasion
by a fan who had to work hard to pass the human obstacles to get on-stage, a ritual
at every Morrissey show. It was surprising that so few actually made it. But due
to the ever-ready and almost brutal security it was understandable. Morrissey was
playful with the audience and enjoyed the response to"Alma Matters," the
first single release from"Maladjusted." Only two other songs from"Maladjusted,""Roy's
Keen," a witty homage to Manchester United's captain and"Satan Rejected
My Soul," were played. He ended the show with"Speedway" (V & I),
walking off stage during the last verse of the song.
show reached the height of hysteria when Morrissey ended the first encore,"Shoplifters
of the World Unite," another Smiths song and his personal favorite. Musically
and emotionally perhaps the highlight of the show, fans were well aware that this
show, being the"Grande Finale," would be the last chance to embrace their
idol. Towards the end of the song a security goon who was roughing up an industrious
stage invader lead Morrissey to point at the bouncer, repeatedly calling him"ugly
man." Extremely upset, the singer called it a day and left the stage. The lights
went up and"Interlude," a song Morrissey had written for Siouxsie and the
Banshees, could be heard over the PA system.
everybody's surprise the band suddenly returned for another encore, yet another first,
as Moz is well known for holding to only one encore. The lights went down again and
Morrissey uttered that"if the security won't pull you to death we hope you will
enjoy this song". A very happy and sexual"Satan Rejected My Soul,"
with a high - spirited Morrissey suggestively playing with the microphone, ended
the show and the North American tour.
the length of the show, the standard 85 minutes, it was a successful wrap-up of the
tour, characterized by intensity throughout every song and a brilliant performance
by one of England's most prolific and enigmatic songwriters. Not limiting his show
to the current album, he covered songs from his entire career, thrilling the pulsating
crowd which had travelled not only from all over the US, but also from Europe, Asia
and South America, to see what many presume could have been his last tour.
Morrissey & Svenja