Morrissey at Julie Rogers Theatre, Beaumont, 5/25/2014
Attending a Morrissey show is a strange experience. People cry, and cry, and cry and cry and cry. Last night Beaumont's Julie Rogers Theatre was full of sobbing concertgoers: one to the left, one to the right, and countless others throughout the venue.
Photos by Abrahan Garza
The only time it's acceptable to sob your way through a concert is at a Moz show, apparently. And people did so from the moment he took the stage, no matter the song. Up tempo and angry or pulled-back and sorrowful; it mattered not the subject matter.
Opening promptly at 9 p.m. with "Speedway" from 1994 album Vauxhall and I, Morrissey made no small talk with the audience, choosing to speed from one song to the next instead. He ran from "Irish Blood English Heart" to "Ganglord" and "Hand In Glove" without speaking more than three words to the audience. Given all the tears, he was saying plenty, it seemed. Perhaps saying any more would have been too much for the audience to handle.
It seemed that Moz's mere presence was enough to bring forth the tears. Not even The Cure's sad-sack songs about love and heartbreak can elicit reactions the way this man does. Pretty impressive, really. I was surrounded by criers.
Whether his lack of stage banter was to preserve the theater from becoming awash in salty tears, it was still in typical Moz fashion. He's not much of a chatter, at least not while performing, choosing instead to focus on the music for the most part. After all, he says plenty to the press about his thoughts on society and the British aristocracy, sometimes-loose lips that have earned him a reputation as a bit of a contrarian over the years.
In concert, though, he hardly lives up to that reputation. He throws in a couple of words here and there, but they are merely notes of gratitude toward the audience or bits of self-deprecation to lighten the mood. He's perfected the art of being flawed, which is a bit beautiful, and done in a very quiet manner. When Moz finally says something perfunctory, you're left begging him to tell you more.
As a performer, he hasn't lost one bit of the trademark vocals that set The Smiths so far apart back in the day. While Morrissey may have aged a bit physically -- his celebrated his 55th birthday at his Dallas concert only a couple of days ago -- his vocals remain impeccable.
It is as though his throat, which a year ago caused the postponing of a number of shows on his tour (including this one, twice), has been preserved in a strange, somewhat depressing time capsule. He's every bit the wistful, lonely vocalist he was in his early twenties, but if this is Moz after an illness, I cannot imagine what he sounded like a couple of decades ago.
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