Viva Mexico

Morrissey - Sports Arena - May 10, 2014

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Mon, May 12, 2014 at 6:55 AM
click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
Morrissey, Tom Jones, Kristeen Young
Sports Arena
May 10, 2014

Meat may be murder, but hot dogs were $10 at the L.A. Sports Arena for Morrissey's show on Saturday night. (Unlike his performance in town last year, at the Staples Center.) The faithful flocked to pay hungry homage to their - what, Savior? Shepherd? (De)sex shaman? 

Morrissey did not disappoint his doting devotees, and how could he have? Moz can do no wrong in the eyes of his congregation, and that held true on Saturday night.

See also: Our slideshow of the concert

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
The scene was like one very large family gathering of way-amped yet friendly like-minded souls; old pompadoured farts in black trench coats and pointy winklepickers trolled side by side even higher-pompadoured young rockabillyists, gothy gals with Betty Page tattoos and just-plain folks in prewashed denim and sensible sweaters.

So much has been made of the fact that Morrissey has been embraced by a fiercely loyal Latino contingent in L.A., and that was in obvious evidence on Saturday. But of course there is perhaps a hunger for drama and pathos in Moz fans of every stripe. And he delivers the comforting goods, in matters pertaining to feeling - if not down and out - then sort of in-between; songs such as "Earth Is the Loneliest Planet," "Trouble Loves Me" and "I Have Forgiven Jesus" speak to an alien nation's fears of being crushed by a corporatized, mechanized, unsensitized world.

Morrissey tells his audience that there is no one on Earth who feels the pain as acutely as himself - and you.

He's quite an elegant chap, Moz is, but mostly a regular bloke who really sweats for his hard-working dollar. He didn't strut the stage of the vast Arena, he strolled amiably across it, enjoying and appreciative of the love being strewn his way from the frenzied horde down stage-front. They threw flowers, and the security crew allowed a few hugs by the eager beavers who climbed up on the stage. Moz handed over the mic to a few lucky fans at one point, again emphasizing the "we're all in this together" type vibe that colored the night's gathering.

It was during his truly audacious performance of the iconic "Meat Is Murder" that you understood what it is about Morrissey that so enraptures his followers; the song was accompanied by projected scenes of the utter horror at meat-packing plants, with cute li'l pigs being skinned, chickens beheaded, writhing and squealing in agony - just maybe like the faceless bodies we all risk becoming.

Sir Tom Jones preceded Moz with a well-received set of old faves like "It's Not Unusual" and "Delilah" and musically rich trips into deep blues, zydeco and other earthy roots-type repertoire. The songs were righteously slammed and shaded by an ace band and, good lord, simply wailed upon by Jones and his totally undiminished power pipes.

Opener Kristeen Young bravely faced the crowd with a tenacious set of her own new-wavey songs, sheeny stuff heavy on the drama and romance. She's bold and confident performer, and while any subtle differences in her material was generally lost in the Arena's vast space, her crystal-clear voice rang out like a shot.

Morrissey set list below

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