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Morrissey at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago

May 15th, 2007

Brilliant show tonight. I saw Morrissey when he was in town for a show at the Aragon last year, and when the new tour dates were released with a Chicago date, I had to go. The place was completely full – the AT is a 4k seat theater, and it’s more of a classical/opera/play venue than it is a rock hall – it seemed a bit too indulgent for this sort of thing. After the first few songs Morrissey said: “Welcome to the lovely auditorium. I promise, nothing will go wrong.” He seemed to be speaking to the auditorium staff. He came out on stage in a suit, which was a nice touch that seemed to fit the space – though it didn’t stay on long.

And nothing did go wrong. In between Kirsteen Young’s opening (imagine Bjork, but even more angry – still a very cool sound through only a keyboard/sequencer and a drummer) and Morrissey a few influential videos were played on the stage – a performance by the New York Dolls (with the lovely Buster Poindexter) from German TV, a screen and wardrobe test from the film East of Eden starring James Dean (Morrissey is rather obsessed with Dean – and the screen test was more than a bit creepy as Dean just stood there and stared at the camera in different outfits with another actor), and a few other odd clips, including a wonderful video of “Ou Ca Ou Ca” by the French crooner/showman Sacha Distel and and one by a very Elvis-esque Vince Taylor. The stage backdrop was a huge double image of James Dean.

The sound was quite good – I was in the lower balcony, and there was very impressive bass that could be felt as well as heard, and the high frequencies were not too overdone. They had a huge bass drum as well as a giant gong, and these were miked pretty well. The band was much tighter than the last show at the Aragon, and Morrissey and his band were quite an interesting and irreverent contrast to the names around the stage which rather ornately listed people like Schuman, Haydn, Mozart, Bach, Rossini, Berlioz, Gluck, Beethoven, Gaunod and Verdi.

The set list was:

The Queen is Dead

First of the Gang to Die

The Youngest Was the Most Loved

You Have Killed Me

Disappointed

Panic

Let Me Kiss You

-band intro-

I Just Want to See the Boy Happy

I Will See You in Far-off Places

The National Front Disco

At Last I Am Born

Irish Blood, English Heart

All You Need is Me

I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty

The Boy with the Thorn in His Side

Drive-In Saturday

Everyday is Like Sunday

Ganglord

Life is a Pigsty w/piano coda and Auld Lang Syne

How Soon is Now?

Encore:

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side

The first encore was a favorite of mine, and I enjoyed watching everyone sing along as if they’d finally found other people who could understand the desire to sing this song aloud. It was yet another one of those “I’m where I’m supposed to be” moments – I had one at the last Morrissey show I attended as well as a brilliant Badly Drawn Boy show not too long ago at the Metro here in Chicago. I love feelings like that – they seem to be more numerous of late for some reason.

Overall it was a great show – Moz got quite a rise out of the crowd when introducing the rest of the band as the bass player and drummer are from Chicago, as well as the requisite “I Will See You in Far-off Places” line of: “If George W. Bush, doesn’t kill you.” I look forward to seeing Morrissey in St. Louis next week when he plays a much smaller venue. Maybe I can get on stage….smile

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