There is no such, thing in life as normal
Camera phone image of Morrissey at the Pageant in STL
The title of the post is a refrain from song by Morrissey titled “The Youngest Was The Most Loved” from his current album Ringleader of the Tormentors. A brilliant song, and Moz features a children’s choir for the refrain which I find quite fitting. The line also seems to fit what I did for the past two days.
The MINI and I have just returned from a rather epic 1100 mile journey through the midwest, to catch three Morrissey shows in one week. The first show was quite easy and didn’t involve driving, a simple 3 stop ride from home on the blue line to the Auditorium Theater here in Chicago.. I already had plans to see the Tuesday night show at the Pageant in STL the following week with Brendan and Dougie, and I figured if I was going that far why not check out the KC show on Wednesday night at the very cool and newly remodeled Uptown Theater in Midtown. It would also give me an excuse to attend the show with my very good pal and equally big Moz fan Kevin, and consume some world famous KC barbecue as well. KC (as it never does) did not disappoint. I also got to stop in Columbia, Mo. on the way to KC, and it was good to be back there as well for a bit.
Three very different cities, and three very different crowds. Chicago’s crowd was the largest and most diverse, and the venue was a monster. KC and STL are much more comparable cities in terms of population and venue size, but they seem a bit different in how the crowd behaved. In Chicago I was in the lower balcony, in STL and KC we were on the floor close to the stage. It was Morrissey’s 48th birthday the night of the STL show, and he got a rise out of the crowd by singing to himself “I’ve come to wish me an unhappy birthday” as well as getting quite a few gifts from people at the show.
The KC show seemed a bit more lively and intense, and this might have been due to the fact that the Uptown Theater’s standing area in front of the stage is 5-6 times larger than the area in front of the stage at the Pageant. I also got the sense that the people in KC were a bit less reserved and provincial – an observation I’ve seen before in comparing the two cities, which is why I find KC so refreshing. Quite a few less Trixies and Chads in KC as compared to STL, Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood of course being the indigenous home of the Trixie and the Chad. Morrissey seemed to have more of a connection to the STL crowd though, and that combined with a smaller venue and the fact that it was his birthday made it an amazing show in its own right. There was a great deal of interaction at all three shows, with Moz shaking quite a few hands during songs and making lots of gestures and eye contact. There was of course the obligatory throwing of the shirt at all three shows – in STL the fans wrestled for one of the shirts for what seemed like a half hour, some of them only to come away with a tiny shred of what used to be a very sweaty armani shirt.
The set list from the STL and KC shows was very similar – it was very cool to hear “Please Please Please let me get what I want this time” as the first encore at the Chicago and STL shows, but maybe Morrissey sensed the KC crowd was a bit more rowdy, and chose “The last of the Famous International Playboys” which was probably a better fit for that show. I would have loved to hear “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” as it’s one of my favorites from The Smiths but that was probably the only want in an otherwise amazing three nights.
Moz is a complete showman. He worked his ass off at all three shows I attended, and the band was completely into everything they played. There were no lulls whatsoever, and it was a pleasure to see the 48 year old Morrissey still enjoying life (as only he can enjoy it). The set list from the KC show:
The Queen Is Dead / First Of The Gang To Die / The Youngest Was The Most Loved / In The Future When All’s Well / You Have Killed Me / Disappointed / Panic / Let Me Kiss You / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / The National Front Disco / I Will See You In Far Off Places / All You Need Is Me / Girlfriend In A Coma / Everyday Is Like Sunday / The Boy With The Thorn In His Side / Irish Blood, English Heart / At Last I Am Born / I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty / Life Is A Pigsty / How Soon Is Now? // The Last Of The Famous International Playboys / You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side
The hard part was getting in the MINI after the show in KC, and driving back to Chicago. I took the northern route through Iowa as I thought the traffic would be a bit lighter, and it was cool to have the top down looking at the stars in a state with not very many lights or buildings – until it started raining. I’ll have a word about my pal Kevin as well as a detailed review of Arthur Bryant’s bbq in a later post as they deserve an entry of their own.
A few more camera phone images: