Despite attending college during the heyday of The Smiths, I didn’t get into them as much as my classmates. I have kept up with Morrissey’s solo career and admired much of his work. My wife even dragged me to see Johnny Marr and the Healers at the Cat’s Cradle a while back. But it wasn’t until the release of Morrissey’s 2004 CD “You Are the Quarry” that it all came together for me. In particular, the song “I’m Not Sorry” struck me as one of the most beautiful songs ever written by any artist in any genre. I went back to explore the full cannon of Morrissey’s work and I was hooked.
Fast forward to July 21, 2007 and a seemingly unlikely place to end Morrissey’s current “Greatest Hits” tour – Myrtle Beach, SC. Yes, the man who put the “M” in “Manchester” was planning to close his tour at the beach that put the “Red” in “Redneck”. It seemed an unlikely combination. It was my first Morrissey concert, and I had no idea what to expect.
My wife and I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott at Barefoot Landing. It’s convenient for attending the House of Blues, but not convenient for much else. By the way, be sure to eat at the House of Blues if you’re attending a General Admission seating concert. You’ll get to bypass the line and be one of the first in.
Morrissey attracts all types. The line was filled with everything from preppies to Goths to greasers, and from teenage misfits to middle aged office workers. These 2,500 or so people would otherwise never mingle, but here they were – anxiously chatting with each other in line about their favorite Moz memories.
The House of Blues is a great venue. We headed down front, slightly stage right. Even though the show was sold out, it never felt crowded. The air conditioning pumped strong all night. I’ve have never felt cooler at any concert.
After seeing a ton of concert footage from around the World, I was a little nervous about being down front. But the crowd in my section was incredibly well-mannered. They’d politely push forward when Morrissey extended his hand, then retreat like the ocean’s tide when he stepped away. The energy and adoration in the room was unreal.
And Morrissey? Well, he was awesome. From “Panic” to “How Soon is Now,” he tore through classic after classic. He joked, he smiled, he played with the crowd. According to the hardcores on the Morrissey website, it was one of his single best concerts in over 10 years.
Who would have guessed that Morrissey and Myrtle Beach would make such a winning combination? There was magic in the House of Blues that night. And I’m glad I was there to witness it.