Alright, so I am a little late on this and the news that Morrissey turned down $5 million dollars to reunite the Smiths for Coachella is all over the net but you see, I didn't go to bed on Saturday night so I was tired and then I felt like I was on peyote all day Sunday and I had a stomach ache like I had been eating liquorice and bacon all night. SXSW will do that to you, but I don't care because I got to see Morrissey on two separate occasions last Thursday.
His first appearance was for an interview with David Fricke of Rolling Stone at the Austin Convention Hall. Normally I don't go to the convention hall because they have these panels during the day where no matter what they are telling you, some dude will get up and say, "I'm in a jam band...how can I get distribution?" There was a line to get into the interview and the place was packed. The interviewer did a great job and he was for sure a record nerd and I should know, we can smell our own. At first the Moz was a bit dodgy and kind of gave a few vague answers, but by the end of the session there were some interesting and hilariously revealing moments. They discussed Johnny Marr ending the Smiths, David Bowie, how no one cared about Joy Division and how they were bad live, the Artic Monkeys, Los Angeles, Rome, too many bands making poor music, the beauty of nature and enjoying life, the New York Dolls, etc. I really have a great respect for celebrities that are apprehensive about stardom (Dave Chappelle, Johnny Depp, etc.) and Morrissey commented on this by saying that most of the time people are famous for just being "known" (popular) and not particularly for having a talent. He also said that the first time he really felt that he could write a song and touch on something special was with "Hand In Glove." Even though he always keeps you guessing, he did mention that although his celibacy is often referenced, he only mentioned it once or twice in print and that he merely went through a dry spell. He also commented on his refusal to perform Smiths songs live for years and realized he was being silly and that he had written the songs so why not play them live? Lucky for me...keep reading buddy!
Although everyone told me I shouldn't bother because I would never get into the show, I risked the cab ride out to the Austin Music Hall, got searched at the door, walked right in to the intro music and the man himself instantly appeared. Perfect timing! Always the constant professionals, the band sounded great and the highlights and set list are below. Morrissey whipped his mic cord and crooned the audience for 17 songs. He even did me proud by having an Italian flag on the kick drum and on a double-necked guitar (I'm Italian kind of). Behind the drummer sat a giant (Get it on bang a) gong with "Tormentors" scrawled across it. They kicked it off with "First Of The Gang To Die" and slammed it shut with "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me." Some poor bastard even got creamed by security when he tried to FTD the Moz some fresh flowers. Don't make fun of me. The dudes at Tripwire said I could write up the show so I took pretty extensive notes. He also goes through a lot of shirts.
01. "First Of The Gang To Die"
(This song is a hit man, damn it's good)
02. "Still Ill"
(He took his jacket off)
03. "You Have Killed Me"
(Shout Out To Waterloo Records)
04. "The Youngest Was the Most Loved"
05. "Reader Meet Author"
(Intro-ed the band and made fun of the guy from Cleveland)
06. "I Have Forgiven Jesus"
(Changed his shirt, the Moz got too sweaty)
07. "I Will See You In Far Off Places"
(This song references Osama Bin Laden, Iraq banter)
08. [not sure, maybe a new one]
(Mentions SXSW and him ending up in Austin)
09. "Girlfriend In A Coma"
(Kept us guessing by saying, "In case anyone is wondering, she didn't." She didn't make it, she died, get it? I cracked up.)
10. "Let Me Kiss You"
(Somebody tossed him a flower. He took his shirt off and threw it into the crowd.)
11. "Life Is A Pigsty"
12. "Trouble Loves Me"
(Intro-ed this song with keyboard rendition of "Deep In The Heart of Texas")
13. "How Soon Is Now"
(People crapped their pants and went nuts)
14. "At Last I Am Born"
(Double-necked Italian shredding)
15. "I Just Want to See the Boy Happy"
16. "Irish Blood, English Heart"
(Took his shirt off, threw it into the crowd)
17. "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"
(Another shirt into the crowd)
This was way better than when the real ZZ Top didn't play the weird Vice warehouse party. I was really hoping to see those spinney, fuzzy guitars. This was also way, way better than the two separate times that a drunk person was talking to me and inadvertently spit directly into my eyeball.