story and photos / Ericka Clevenger
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been more excited to attend a show than the Morrissey show at The Fonda. The Smiths frontman has had a great influence on the formation of my musical appreciation and taste over the years. Having the opportunity to see Steven Patrick Morrissey live was a dream come true. The British icon played The Fonda after the cancellation of his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. This date was added in addition to The Fox and Shrine, which sold out in ten minutes, a telling action that says a lot of the international superstar he has become. Eager fans and selected guests attended the intimate show last Wednesday ready to see him play.
Morrissey seemed happy to be in Los Angeles, juxtaposed with some of his greatest fans in the world, the night was brimming with excitement. The line that formed hours before the show stood as testament of the enthralled nature of the Morrissey/Fan relationship. More than just a musician he is a cult leader and iconic legend in his ability to speak to the world without a personal filter. Since the 1985 Smiths album, Meat Is Murder, Morrissey has been pushing past the boundaries of your traditional musician and becoming a worldwide voice in both art and politics. His animal rights activism, sexuality, and political views are sewn into his music making them relateable confessions of his soul, rather than just songs. His fans ranged from old to young, clean cut, baggy jeans, backward caps , families and hipsters. The mix created a unique mix of Los Angeles culture, as everyone rushed the Fonda with one thing in mind, I want Morrissey. Even the giant security guards were no match for the mob that fumbled to get as close as they could to the man they loved. The audience screamed, cried and jumped up and down as he entered the stage. The devotion and dedication of Morrissey fans is in itself a beautiful thing to witness. Eat it Robert Smith, People LOVE Morrissey.
The band made a grand entrance in matching black shirts that read “FUCK FUR” and begun their set with “I Want The One I Can’t Have”. Everyone sang along to the familiar Smiths song with enchanted eye locked glazed longing for the one you love.
“I want the one I can’t have
And it’s driving me mad
It’s all over, all over, all over my face”
These are such simple, straight to the heart lyrical realities that everyone can relate to and that is the genius in Moz. The Fonda is always a great place to see live music. They really know what they are doing there. The sound was great, and the images projected along with lights and fog brought his performance to life. His vocals held clarity over the loud instruments, and weaved effortlessly through the screaming crowd, hitting each ear individually in personal resonation. Switching gears to a personal tune from his eighth solo album titled, “You Could Have Killed Me”, this song reeks of a Christ like undertones with words that surpass their meaning as if Morrissey himselg was overwhelmed by the pressure of being an idol, and yet accepting his fate with his ultimate forgiveness. The song was written in Rome and greatly influenced by the Italian poets and filmmakers.
Changing tunes partially through to the fan favorite, “Your The One For Me, Fatty”, thought as a love song for an overweight person, but actually an inside joke between Madness singer Chas Smash and himself. The audience went crazy, as the first wave of, “Im going to ping pong push until I touch him” began. Fans screamed and shoved albums, posters, t-shirt etc up towards the sky, in hopes for the legend to sign them. He was very friendly and engaging with the crowd, creating a nostalgic longing in the atmosphere. People were holding onto each other, kissing and dancing to the humor and statements he spoke. The balance makes the artists very relatable, which people respond well to.
They played a newer song called “People Are The Same Everywhere” which was rich in a reverb filled echo, followed by the infamous “Meat Is Murder”. An activist for vegetarianism, Morrissey displayed a series of graphic images of animals being killed for meat, along with blood red lights that hovered around the stage, cascading an elegant sorrow around him. The sound, images and light created an eerie essence in the room dividing the proud vegetarians from the guilt filled meat eaters in the room. Regardless of consumption ideals, we can all agree that we are thankful for Morrissey, and his inspiring music.
Ending the set with “Speedway”, a dark twisted love song that seemed painfully humanized as the drum solo seemed to break the hearts and swell the chest with emotion simultaneously. He went for a quick shirt change as the crowd screamed and chanted for an encore. He returned wearing a flashy getup and closed the show with another Smiths tune, “Still I’ll”. The act ended with Morrissey’s traditional removing of the shirt followed by a gracious bow and thanking of the crowd. As the curtains closed I noticed a snake like movement below. Fans who had grabbed the shirt were now in an all out battle to the death of who was walking away with his sweat filled shirt. Overlooking the situation from the balcony, the struggle become a giant wave, as people from all sides took a stab at snatching the shirt. After a few punches, and security separation, I think the guys finally worked out a deal.