I'll try not to go into much detail here, but I just wanted to submit a few high & lowlights before I forget (there were so many). I had backstage press VIP credentials so I had access to quite a few interesting conversations.
First off, nobody knew if Morrissey was going to show up for sure until 5:50pm. There were a lot of people with walkie-talkies and cell phones asking each other of "he" was here yet. They were a bit nervous because of the possible riot factor – it’s happened before. There were countless faithful, sweaty Morrissey fans who had staked their claim at the front of the main stage for hours in the heat to assure a good view for the possibility that Morrissey would indeed show. I heard one of the insurance guys on site, (his name was Mark), ask over his cell phone if the extra security had arrived. I suppose either way, they’d need it.
At 3:30 or so I saw a few people going in and out of his dressing room: Two older guys, an older blond woman and a young blond-haired boy, about 14 years old. They all had Coachella laminates on with "Morrissey" handwritten on them. I asked one of the older guys if Morrissey was going to play and he responded in a British accent with an "I certainly hope so." He didn’t seem chatty so I took the cue.
Immediately after Perry Farrell’s dreadful set (about 5:30pm), everyone was chanting "MOR - RIS - SEY" over and over as Farrell was waving good-bye. I was standing along side a lot of Farrell’s ass-kissers and lackeys and it just infuriated them. "I can’t believe how @#!!!ing rude they are" was the general consensus. In essence, they were booing Farrell. It was a proud moment for Morrissey fans.
Morrissey’s tour coach finally pulled up at 5:45 with a small black limo behind it. That’s really when it was finally confirmed that he was really going to play. Soundmen set up the gear and the soundboard operator taped a setlist to his counsel. About this time a couple of dozen yellow-jacketed rental security guard walked single file into the pit between the fans and the stage. The seemed to be getting last minute instructions.
Finally, the lights dimmed and an extended drum of The Operation began. There was a wall of screams at his point – complete chaos. The intro seemed to take hours, but finally there was a bit stirring backstage. I was by the soundboard and I heard someone yell "we’re ready" so Morrissey was the first out. He seemed genuinely happy and excited. Arms outstretched in the air and a huge grin. He was wearing navy blue velour blazer which he kept on until the fourth or fifth song, the same light blue West Ham t-shirt which was soaked in sweat by the middle of the set (he threw that out to the crowd during the last tune, Last Night I Dreamt . . . , and security had to drag out the guy who caught in because it was like the recreation of the Rank cover with dozens of other fans with their fists grabbing the shirt to shreds. He also wore expensive looking navy blue trousers and black leather loafers. Oh, by the way, if anyone cares, he was also wearing white cotton briefs (please don’t ask me how I know).
The rest of the band was in all black, that retro 50’s look we all know. I saw Alain grimace in pain quite a few time throughout the night. He was in serious pain and it was obvious. He and Boz were also yelling quite a bit at the soundboard operator next to me to get the sound right – it took the sound man at least three songs. The new drummer Spike was average at best. I suppose he’ll get better. Gary Day was just motionless and expressionless for the most part. I can’t see why Morrissey doesn’t hire a bass player that wants to be there. Andy Rourke would have been far better. Alain was motionless for a better reason and Boz did a few high kicks, but was pretty subdued as well.
Morrissey grabbed the mic and yelled "Where is Morrissey?" and the place went mad. There was little else from him although he did try and get the crowd to chant Mexico once and he also asked the crowd if they were having a good time, they yelled yes and he responded, "too bad." Mid-set he asked if the crowd was ready to go home and if so "we’re not." There were lots of "thank you’s" and a few "we love you’s. Lots of tongue-in-cheek posing as well – he was very passionate, especially during Meat is Murder.
There were two times that Morrissey whispered into Boz and Alain’s ear – those were the two times Morrissey asked them to skip songs. From where I was, I could see the official setlist and I was able to see the two songs omitted. The first being Lost and the other was The Edges Are No Longer Parallel. I have one of the setlist’s which I’ll soon scan and post.
As the band finished up "Last Night I . . . ," a bare-chested Morrissey finished the words and quickly walked backstage as the rest of the band finished up the song. His personal security guard (the young, thin bald guy that was stage left who was grabbing people as they rushed Morrissey) threw a white towel over his head and ushered him back into his limo. The band was still finishing up as the limo left the venue -- it was a complete pop star touch.
A few minutes later, I was speaking with Alain at the tour coach about how he was and he said he was "still in grave pain." He was wearing a light blue back brace which he then took off and did a few stretching exercises on the grass near the coach as the droning of the Chemical Brothers blasted in the background. The entire band was happy with the performance. I asked Boz where Morrissey went and he said he didn’t know, but "he seemed to be in a hurry, didn’t he." They hung out backstage (which was as big as a park) by their coach for about 90 minutes before they all jumped back on and left themselves.
Anyway, I have to say that Morrissey fans were the truest, loudest and best – all in Smith/Moz shirts and cuffed-Levis and quiffs. A few people invaded the stage, mostly from backstage and countless fell into the security put, but were escorted out (a few of them got lucky and touched Morrissey’s hand if he was in the area). He was the true highlight of the day - NO ONE received a bigger response. If he doesn’t get a deal after that performance, surely there’s something wrong with the record industry.
I know I went on, and I have tons more, but that was what I though Morrissey-solo readers would need to know now. I’ll post the rest on my web site, this weekend. I have a quickie interview with the Boz, Alian and Spike, the kids from Bis, Super Furry Animals and a few more I just can’t remember at the moment. The link is posted below.