San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

15 days 'til Coachella - Morrissey

My holy trinity in high school was, as follows:

The Cure
The Smiths
Depeche Mode

Well, I've managed to see The Cure from the third row on Disintegration, and DM front row on Violator. 89-90 were good years.

But I never got to see The Smiths.

I remember back in like 1987 when my friend Vince loaned me a tape of Strangeways, Here We Come, the last studio Smiths album for the weekend. I came in that Monday and sought him out.

"Hey Vince, I really love that Smiths album you loaned me."

"Wow, that's too bad, because they're never going to play again," he replied.

I was pretty fucking disappointed.

From then on out, I made a point of getting ahold of all the Smiths stuff I could on CD, with the exception of the really expensive stuff like Hatful of Hollow and The World Won't Listen. I broke down and bought the former in college, but still don't have the latter. I know there are some different versions of stuff on TWWL but goddammit, The Smiths were one of the first bands that made me hate the music I loved, if only because I knew I could never get it all.

Then came Viva Hate, Morrissey's first album. I kind of felt like it was mine, because it was the first thing he'd put out when I was actively a fan, and when so many people around me were denouncing it as "not as good as the smiths." Well, shit. Throw this guy a bone, man! It took forever to get the thing out, and then twice as long to get the follow-up, Bona Drag, to see the light of day. And by the time it did, it was mostly a singles collection. Not that I'm complaining. At the time, the best the US ever got of our Brit idols was of this ilk.

So what about Morrissey?

I saw him back in 2000 or 2001 at Cox Arena here in San Diego. Expectations were low. Like slug shit low. Cox Arena is infamous for shitty sound, and he'd recently released Maladjusted, which I think is probably his worst solo album by a long shot. We had nosebleed seats, and it was a Wednesday night (READ: it may have been any night of the week, but it felt like a Wednesday).

Well, let me tell you, he was a fucking SHOWMAN. He got up on that stage and belted out amazing song after amazing song, from Shoplifters of the World Unite to later favorites from his solo career, and the sound was actually surprisingly good. The setlist was phenomenal, and he pandered to the crowd like a Tijuana barker.

I've only had a few listens through Years of Refusal, his latest effort, and I think it's pretty good. Not his best solo effort, but I could be proved wrong by history. Regardless, it's going to be one helluva show, if the reports I've heard from other shows on the tour hold up.

And remember, this is Coachella. He hasn't played here since the first one back in 1999. He opened in Ann Arbor, MI with This Charming Man. Do you think he's going to do anything less in the desert?

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