We travelled to Sydney to see Morrissey play three shows at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid Festival. There was a ballot for tickets and even though we crashed out in the draw, we knew people interstate who were successful and had ended up with an excess of tickets (due the the crazy allocation of the ballot system). We had originally pinned our hopes on one show, but once the crazy wheel started turning we ended up with tickets to three of Moz's four shows.
I'd never been to Sydney before and Circular Quay was pumping. There were light projections onto buildings and thousands of people visiting for any number of events. It was overwhelming. We met our friends and got our tickets. We also got to meet someone else from Melbourne we knew online through Instagram but had never met IRL (in real life). Then we were introduced to more people. We went inside and found our seats, appreciating the beauty of the venue. Then it began. Seconds later Peter left his seat and ran to the front. I looked down and our friends had done the same. It turns out many people at the front weren't up dancing or cheering. There was a gap between the stage and the seats and security let people come down the front. Within seconds I'd joined them. I was amongst lovely people, all respectful of people in their seats and smiling at each other. A young guy next to me was so overwhelmed he was awestruck. He told me he couldn't believe he was seeing Morrissey. We all sang along and beamed with happiness. Then Morrissey lent forward and touched peoples hands...including Peter. Amazing.
After the show we all met up and strolled to find a bar. We had ended up as some sort of posse. Chatting to more of the group we found people had travelled from all over Australia for these gigs. The next night was the same. We met up before the show for drinks, including a woman from Paris. Peter got his hand touched again by Morrissey and this time he stood still and teared up. A woman on the other side of me was weeping. I smiled at their joy and moment of wish fulfilment. Moz has been part of their lives for 30 years and in that second connected with that person alone. At one point I realised I was singing at the top of my voice with gay abandon. The type of singing I usually only do in my car when I'm alone. Next to me was one of the guys from the posse, belting it out as passionately as me. Afterwards, more drinks and talk. One of the group had tried to get on stage (to give Moz a hug) which is the eternal quest at most shows. She was thwarted by security. We joked at one point as we looked around, finding many of the group heads down and looking at their phones. I commented that we were all high functioning introverts and Instagrammers, checking photos and IG feeds. I looked at the group and smiled at the left of centre nature of us all. Unique. Interesting. All three shows were amazing and Peter got his hand touched each night. I remain, as yet, untouched.
So, how did I get here? Some people may be scratching their heads at me doing something quite so crazy and fan-girlish. I was a Smiths fan in late high school. In our year 12 yearbook I picked 2 theme songs for my profile entry - Run for your life by the Beatles and Panic by The Smiths. But somewhere along the way I lost touch with Moz. I knew singles from the radio but I was busy following local indie bands. I met Peter in 2009 and as we were getting to know each other he sent me a mixed tape (well three CDs actually) of songs. The subtext seemed that this was him in music form, spanning lots of genres and artists. Each CD had either a Smiths or Morrissey song: What difference does it make, Why don't you find out for yourself, I'm not sorry. This was the first time I'd heard these Morrissey songs. They were beautifully crafted with clever lyrics and lush production. I was smitten with more than just the songs.
Peter and I ended up together after a bit of a bumpy ride (go see blog posts from mid 2009 onwards for selected highlights). Through him I got to listen to CDs I'd missed since The Smiths. Then we did something neither of us ever thought we would - we got married. We handed out CDs as gifts from us on the day. Our soundtrack, which of course included more Moz: There is a light that never goes out and Let me kiss you.
Morrissey was on constant rotation in my car, which also included the time I drove back and forth from Torquay many times as my Dad was dying. I cried to his version of Moon River from behind the steering wheel. This song will always be linked to those fraught few days as Morrissey kept me company on the long drive.
Later that year Morrissey toured. It would be the first time Peter had ever seen him live. I was thrilled that I got to be with Peter for such a momentous moment. The show was incredible and we were in the throng. We even managed to get a bit of Morrissey's shirt which he tossed into the audience. I understood the adoration. It felt like a baptism in the Church of Morrissey. I had seen the Mozziah.
|Morrissey - Melbourne December 2012 (photo by me)|
This must sound funny, especially as I'm an atheist. But I witnessed the charisma and charm, the talent and wit, and above all the joy that was Morrissey.
But Moz has brought us unexpected things...like friends. The Morrissey Sticker Project is run by three amazing women. They were the social glue that brought the posse together in Sydney and supplied us with tickets to two shows. Through them we met more amazing and delightful people. And I guess this is the thing. Morrissey isn't for everyone. He says and does controversial things. But he has an opinion, and you are left in no doubt regarding what he's thinking. He campaigns for animal rights and at every show plays Meat is Murder accompanied with graphic and horrific footage from slaughter houses. There are few musicians today I can think of, whether in their work or in interviews that are having these difficult conversations with their audience.
His humour and lyrics are dark. He talks about a different way to be a man and about love, loss and desire. I do feel like a new fan compared to people who have followed Moz along his journey since The Smiths. But looking back at the last few years, Morrissey has been intertwined with events in my life. He was given to me by Peter. And this is part of the reason it was so amazing to do something so crazy as fly interstate to see Moz. For as great as the small things are, perhaps sometimes you need the big, crazy moments too. To step out of normal life and live with gay abandon in the moment of sheer joy. It's even better too if you can do this with amazing people around you.
To quote Morrissey...now my heart is full.
|Morrissey - Sydney 26th May 2015 (photo by me)|
|Morrissey - Sydney 27th May 2015 (photo by me)|
|Morrissey - Sydney 30th May 2015 (photo by me)|
|Before the first show - Sydney (photo Penny aka @antfan)|
|After the second show drinks - Sydney (photo by Susan @esarjayel)|
Now my heart is full