Shit, it was Friday night in Brooklyn, and none other than one of my all-time favorites, Morrissey, was performing that evening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music aka BAM, which is within walking distance of my apartment. I had forgotten to look for tickets when the show went on sale a few months ago, so I was disappointed by my misstep, but I also had convinced myself that Moz had already taken enough of my money over the years, so no need to dump another $100 on a performer who always managed to come up short in terms of setlist length for me. I believed that nothing could top my experience of seeing him at Webster Hall almost 4 year ago where I was up front. Anyway, umbrella in tow on a drizzly night, I decided to stroll by the venue and see if I could score a last minute miracle.
(More words and pics after the jump.)
I knew the show was sold out, making my chances slim at best, so I thought I'd improve my chances by wearing a t-shirt with Moz's mug on it (and Bestest Boy teased me for it), and I figured I'd carry a sign to make my request obvious for anyone looking for a buyer. I also resolved not to deal with any icky scalpers or to settle for anything farther than the front part of the theatre. Worst case scenario, I told myself, would be seeing a movie within the same building.
I got to the venue just after 7pm and stood in front, trying my darnedest to look like an eager, yet normal and sane fan seeking a ticket. An irritating scalper approached me repeatedly trying to convince me to take his crappy tickets far from the stage, but I didn't bite. I held my ground and continued to scan the people arriving, hoping to spot someone looking to unload an extra.
Then about 20 minutes later, I saw a guy walk towards the annoying scalper, and they seemed to be negotiating a bit, so I inched by closer. I saw the guy take out a ticket, about to hand it to the scalper (who would undoubtedly try to flip it), so I made eye contact with the gentleman. He spotted my t-shirt and sign, and left the scalper dude hanging, and came over to me, asking if I needed a ticket. I said, "Yes, what do you have?" and he handed me a decent ticket - Row K, seat 31 - 10th row, on the side. "How much do you want for it?" I inquired, and he smiled and replied, "Nothing. Enjoy."
Holy shit. Stunned. It truly was a miracle. I could hardly believe my good fortune just then. I had to blab about it to someone, so I chatted for a few minutes with a kind usher, who was also an avid concert-goer. After we traded a few stories, she tipped me off that the venue was going to allow ticket holders in Row K and up stand in the aisles if they wanted, so I realized that could be my opportunity to really get into the mix of things.
I entered the orchestra seating area and spotted my occasional concert buddy, Matt from A Heart Is A Spade, standing up front in the second row with his amazing seat, and I was delighted to run into him since the last time I saw Moz at Webster Hall, Matt was with me throughout that whole ordeal as well. I chatted with him a bit and spotted my generous benefactor behind us, so I went over to thank him again and to tip him off about what the usher had told me. Dave was supposed to go to that night's show with his good friend who had introduced him to The Smiths and Moz back in the day, but unfortunately his friend was too ill with the flu and couldn't make it out. Anyway, as soon as the lights dimmed for the opener, we bolted from our seats and made a beeline for the pit in front of the orchestra, and I found myself standing next to Matt about 3 deep from the very low stage. We were excited beyond belief.
The opener was once again Kristeen Young, who has supported Moz for quite a few tours over the years. I still don't get the appeal -- she's kind of like an amalgam of Kate Bush and Tori Amos, with a little Amanda Palmer thrown in. The majority of us didn't embrace her, but I suppose we were all restless for Moz to come on. In between one of her songs during her 30 minute set, someone from the audience yelled boo, and I believe Young teared up a little bit. I felt bad for her, but then again, her music is...really something.
Just like clockwork, Moz and his band hit the stage at 9pm sharp. Because just two hours before that I didn't even have a ticket, I hadn't anticipated the surge of emotion I would feel once the eternally handsome Morrissey stood mere feet from me. This time, unlike Webster, there was no high stage or photo pit or barricade creating distance between the man and his fans. He was truly all there, perhaps a bit more silver than black haired this time, but yes, the author and singer of songs we all knew by heart and had moped to in our youth. I could barely breathe from how overwhelming it all was.
He was in a good mood, joking in his sardonic way throughout the evening. He warned those of us up front should prepare to be whipped. Yes, he took his shirt off, during one of my favorite more recent songs, "Let Me Kiss You" and tossed it into a sea of vicious piranhas eager for a scrap of fabric. He entertained us for 90 minutes this time, and without a new album to promote, just about all the songs were familiar, especially the handful of Smiths songs he chose.
He closed out the evening with "Still Ill" as his encore, and at that point, he was freely engaging with the fans up front. I finally managed to shake his hand and nearly wept, but I am a nostalgic fool.
What a magical evening!
SETLIST: Action Is My Middle Name / Everyday Is Like Sunday / How Soon Is Now? / First of the Gang / Shoplifters Of The World / Black Cloud / People Are The Same Everywhere / Alma Matters / Maladjusted / Let Me Kiss You / You Have Killed Me / Ouija Board, Ouija Board / Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want / You're The One For Me, Fatty / November Spawned A Monster / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Speedway / Meat Is Murder // Encore: Still Ill