Thursday, March 26, 2009

Morrissey at the Wellmont

above photo by Sean Salmon
original article in the montclarion

Usually people show up to a concert an hour or two early to feel their idol's sweat drops on them, but at the Wellmont Theatre on Monday, March 16, fans of Morrissey started to line up at 11 a.m. for his sold-out 8 p.m. show. As the line wrapped around onto Bloomfield Avenue, the doors opened, and the pastel-colored theatre was quickly filled with excited fans.

Red Cortez opened the show with explosive drum beats, smooth jangly guitar riffs echoed by the soulful voice of frontman Harley Prechtel. With Prechtel not wearing any shoes and the rest of the band in a Bohemian style, one would think that this was just another boring indie rock band, but Red Cortez fueled Morrissey fans with their upbeat songs and howling lyrics.

Shortly after Red Cortez's set, a mix of videos played on a white sheet that covered the awaited set. This mix included videos from '60s band Shocking Blue, Vince Taylor dancing the twist, the drunken "The 12 Daze of Christmas" and of course the infamous video of David Johansen of the New York Dolls smoking a "marijuana cigarette," which was the cue that the show was about to start.

As the white sheet dropped, five musicians, identically dressed in denim, started to play, and Morrissey came out to a vibrating uproar from the audience.

"I'm working on a dream," sang Morrissey, and then he quickly stopped and said, "No, I'm not."

Why was Morrissey tastefully mocking the chorus of Bruce Springsteen's recent single? It was his way of welcoming New Jersey, and it shows that after all these years, Morrissey's still as sharp as ever.

With a set list that ranged from songs of The Smiths to his most recent album, Years of Refusal, Morrissey didn't disappoint long-time fans waiting for that Smiths B-side, like "I Keep Mine Hidden," to be played.

While most solo artists' music tends to get dry and die out after time, Morrissey's new album is very loud and energetic. With songs like "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris," Morrissey demonstrates how his age hasn't given him any grief in his career.

After stripping off a number of button-down shirts and teasing the crowd with his bare chest, Morrissey threw them into the audience, causing havoc among fans.

A memorable image of the night was when a heart-shaped sweat mark formed on his back, showing that Morrissey really does sing his heart out to his fans when he plays.

After hilarious remarks from Morrissey in between songs, saying that all he knows about Montclair is there's a Whole Foods and asking what one does in the town, the crowd laughed at his witty gentleman-like humor.

Once the show was coming to an end, fans started to make their way to the stage doing whatever they could to get a hug from Morrissey, which is typical at his shows. One fan made it onto the stage, past the security guards and the large gap in between them and the audience. People pushed so hard that the barricades were going forward, causing a security guard to take the stage and tell everyone to move back before the encore.

Finishing his set with, "First of the Gang to Die," Morrissey left the stage, leaving fans mesmerized by his charm, gratitude and, of course, his music.

all other photos by o.J. Lopena

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