Santa Ana, CA - The Observatory (May 8, 2014) post-show

Post your info and reviews related to this concert in the comments section below. Other links (photos, external reviews, etc.) related to this concert will also be compiled in this section as they are sent in.

Set List:

Hand In Glove / Ganglord / The Youngest Was The Most Loved / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Speedway / World Peace Is None Of Your Business / That's How People Grow Up / Earth Is The Loneliest Planet / Life Is A Pigsty / The Bullfighter Dies / I Have Forgiven Jesus / Yes, I Am Blind / Everyday Is Like Sunday / Meat Is Murder / Trouble Loves Me / First Of The Gang To Die / I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday / The National Front Disco // Asleep / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell

set list provided by !Viva Hate!

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OMG she fell down last night. She kept singing too but she was behind the sheet. I've seen that happen once before, maybe it's a thing she does to elicit sympathy. She sounds better with a band. I was a good girl, I didn't heckle her only to say NAME YOUR BAND.

Maybe Kristeen should ease up on the preshow vodka shots. She does sound a bit better with a band


If that BRS BS is too complicated for your mind, you can still just stick to the music and ignore the rest.

Defending a website by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession, you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
the BRS made someone who cared a lot give up entirely. It's not about the music anymore because why pay for anything to support a person who treats people poorly when that person is a kind person .Art and music reach far and wide to all different lifestyles and income brackets which is something you cannot control but somehow not with these people .

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
Apologies for the delay...I'm only now waking up...the following may have all been but a dream ~

Oh my...


I'm depending on you, to see I get safely to, the port, where my heart, is too lost to find...

And so this is what 'Moz Angeles' feels like. Stood here outside the Observatory, five thousand miles from a question mark, I may feel like death (jet-lag has, so far, gifted me a piledriver headache, triple vomitus and a pallor that makes a skeleton seem sweetly sallow) but this Santa Ana 'line' are a shining skin storm of delight. Their palpable sunset sense of anticipation could lift even the weariest travelled and tramelled soul. And if the Moz Throng fail to wake me up then the body search when I finally get to the head of the queue certainly grabbed! I actually keeled backwards into the security hulk as he did his thing but I don't think he even noticed as I bounced straight back off him.

Once inside the venue I dart for my 'usual' spot in the balcony, any balcony, wherever. Amidst the pitch black it soon becomes apparent that this balcony is only accessible to those wearing a wristband marked 'I Am Not Scum'. I do not possess one of these, and so I duck back down below and find a quite perfect spot right behind Max Conwell's lighting desk. It has a clear unobscured view and is 30 feet or so from centre stage. And so now I am excited.

Kristeen and the archive clippage pass by in something of a blur (Thatcher as the Wicked Witch of the West or too much foreign pain medication?) The double whammy of NYD & Lypsynka remain in place and as potent as ever, and here we go again, as those ghostly French lovers fade in from some other mid-brain. And on he strides. Looking impossibly, unconscionably hale, hearty and handsome. Shining with suavity. Thunderously debonair. Tanned and trim, this seems somehow a more fitting look here in California than in, say....Hawick. The band are out-of-the-gate, starter-gun, tight-as-y'like on show starter 'Hand In Glove'. Gustavo is spraying Smiths sunshine out of that harmonica and my spirits soar back to the skies I've only just left. The music is flawless and the voice is beyond resolute. Morrissey's titanium timbre bestows a whole new dimension to this paean to first love. It is now the sound of a man fighting for a love hard-won, and of a man with genuine, lengthy experience of loves lost and found. And again, I find myself thinking that this is the one true voice of these songs. Sure it's sweet that Johnny does them and, yes, musically they are faultless. I'm not actually aware if Johnny has done 'Hand In Glove' live as yet, but I find it impossible to believe that it could match the emotional power of the rendition here tonight. To me, it's about ownership. Morrissey owns these words and emotions in a way that Johnny, or any other vocalist, simply cannot. All else is fax. Morrissey then, and Morrissey now, can infuse these words with a meaning and intent that somebody simply following a vocal melody line cannot. Tonight there is a searing and soaring beauty and truth that is as heartfelt now, in a different way, in this Santa Ana sweatbox, as in the wintering box room in Stretford some 30 years ago. Quite simply, it is about the rigour of the heart.

And one song in we see the return of the Strangeways Strangelove. Morrissey at one point amidst the lyric raises and flips his his hand in a quietly florid gesture of...what, exactly?...disdain..defiance..something anyway. He freezes for a second, turns his head and looks at the hand in expressive pose, a glance askance, asking himself, maybe, as I just did, what the hell did that mean? Does the mind control the body or...etc? Unremittingly self-conscious ("even in his sleep"). Naturally unnatural. Etcetera. In one song.

My god, he looks good. Did I mention that bit?....

And then we're into 'Ganglord'; jesus, this band sound good. It's extraordinary that this is the second concert of the tour. Has there been a secret, pretend tour that nobody knew about? A phantom first leg? Otherwise, I'm thinking that the process en Provence must have had an impact on this new found sound. The rehearsal and recording process have undoubtedly produced a flawless and fluid power to the proceeedings that goes beyond the standard pre-tour knock-up.

'Ganglord' is, quite obvioulsy, a far more potent proposition here in the land of protection & servitude than it was when I witnessed it's debut back in 2006 in....Greenock! The locality and topicality generate a raucous reception tonight, especially at the 'get back to the ghetto' outro.

Another tried and true favourite follows with 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved'. What I relish most about the rendition tonight is the sense of truth ringing out of this vocal, 'There is no such thing in Life as normal', ~ a sense of truth that is just as vibrant and keen as 'If they dare touch a hair on your head I'll fight to the last breath' etc. And I also detect a sense that Moz is playfully trying to outdo Brian Eno's yodelling even more so than normal (having just witnessed said skills on the vintage video reel ~ 'Seven Deadly Fins' from Dutch TV, 1974.)

'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris' skips by, sounding as tight yet light as it ever has. A perfect pop appetiser to contrast with the heavy main that is...'Speedway'. This version has been only lightly tinkered with, in comparison to the versions of recent tours. There is a subtlety and deft compexity to this rendition, in Matt's mix of pounding drums and fresh fills and Gustavo's inspired keys. It remains an eminently swoonable mix of waltz time and whack down as the slow green-lit verses flirt with the white-light hit of the (self?) accusatory choruses. It's an unalloyed classic now. It has the air of an old friend, but the kind who will punch you full in the face yet you feel it like a kiss of truth.

Next up is my first new song - 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business' - and, so far, my favourite of the three I've heard. I simply love the sound of this song, right from the off, as Boz fiddles with his 'thing' (some kind of horizontal, tabled instrument). Musically, it's just a delight from start to finish, and Morrissey's voice is 'beyond delight ~ one of his higher register efforts, and a tone that I never fail to fall in love with, everytime. Frankly it wouldn't much matter if he were singing about putting the bins out every fortnight. I'd still swoon. As soon as that title was announced I'd been curious about he'd successfully scan it into a winning pop melody. My satiation is overtaken by my giddy thrill; how could I doubt thee? The lyric is one of those 'only Morrissey could write this' jobs. And only Moz could sing these words in this tone. It has the aural patina of a love song, not a 'political' song. This moves me strangely. His words are sungs as if to a lover, lost or found. The words thenselves are funny and witty, yet rooted in tragedy and sorrow ~ the core of Morrissey's lyrical genius surely. Each 'poor little fool' renders my neck electric - I've never heard this song before!? - and the outro finds me swaying along, swept off my feet. A knock-out!

'That's How People Grow Up', for all the mozcellaneous gripers, always grips live, and here in the flesh and sweat of wherever the hell I am, it reeks again of a freshly realised truth ~ the essence of his live artistry.

'Earth Is The Loneliest Planet' surprises me with its sound: Latin Sci-Fi....who knew?! This new one again exhibits a beautiful sense of humour, from the title inwards - I mean, where else exactly do we have to compare it with? Again, only Morrissey could come up with this combination - it's OTT and melodramatic, and yet something hooks it back down to the personal and the intimate; the voice? the stage craft? What? This will require some detailed further investigation. A prospect assuredly not to be endured but rather enjoyed I feel, as each line felt like a new compadre that I'm already longing to spend more time with. More than anything though the aspect of the work that most wins me over at this early point is the juxtaposition of the overall sound with the lyrical intent. The mix of that upbeat sunny Latin melody and rhythm with the deep-set melancholia of the words has my head spinning with joy.

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
From future compadre to...long-time soulmate. 'Life Is A Pigsty' is a song that has had cause to mean more to me in the last twelve months than ever it had before. The musical rendition tonight is flawless and pristine in its pacing, power and lightly worn authority. It is only exceeded by the mastery of that human voice. This is the true beating existential heart of the set. Every yearning and impassioned line/query ~ 'And if you don't know THIS / Then WHAT do you know?' ~ finds truth creased across every inch of the Moz phizog - a mix of anger, fear and grief (my own private year in 3 little words). Again, tonight, I note this sense of the artist experiencing and feeling 'as if for the very first time'. How is this done? Sense Memory? Channeling? Witchcraft?! Someone once stated that the mark of the great actors was that they convinced you that what they were feeling on screen and stage was happening to them for the very first time, as you were there to bear witness, not on the 13th take, or the 33rd straight matinee. One can perhaps understand Morrissey's involved appreciation of certain kinds of actors, and his abiding fascination with the process of that artform. Does that imply falsity though? I don't believe so. The situation is false. The enviroment is 'unnatural' - be it a film set, a theatre stage, or any place where art is made. Yet truth is produced. It shines through the falsity of the location at moments such as these, here, tonight. It's why we're addicted. This queer alchemy that produces human truth to (most) people in this room. Truth that just can't be found elsewhere in life, no matter how hard I look. The magic and wonder of these moments is that I have my truth, dragged five thousand miles to this dark little spot. (No matter how far you run you can never escape your truth). Most others in this room have their own different truths, all separate, all distinct; and now they are coalesced around this one Manchester man, singing these words, over this music.'Can you please stop time? It hurts. 'Can you stop this pain? It helps. And then it's gone. And I'm weeping into my perspiration.'And I'm falling in love. Again. Yes.

Time for another new friend - a bright little pop gem 'The Bullfighter Dies' - which unites with the other newbies tonight in displaying a winning, vivid wit and a certain joie de vivre, that bodes very well for Morrissey's first LP "since 1927." This feels like work coming from a different mindset and delivered with a fresh sense of Attack.

The intro to 'I Have Forgiven Jesus' is greeted with rapture which amuses Moz no end for some strange reasom. Within 4 minutes he goes from chuckles to challenging Jesus - pretty neat trick. As I'm singing along, badly, I suddenly have a flashback to a small fat child self-consciously singing along in church, praying to God that nobody can hear me (except Her), and I think this could be my Moz hymn.

Another treasureable moment comes at the climax to this song as Morrissey asks 'why put me in self-deprecating bones and skin?...' He is firmly planted atop one of his vocal monitors, towering above the front few rows, head thrown heavenwards, to the sound of stifled, stifling screams of all and sundry. He blindly paws himself all over his body as he reprises the heavenly demand. With every set of eyes in the place fixed upon him I can only imagine Jesus himself shrugging ~ 'What giveth Steven?'

There is another chuckle from Moz as the band begin 'Yes, I am Blind' to a huge roar of Californian love. You would think it was a lead single off his biggest selling album ever, rather than a 25 year old b-side. What follows is a flawless, full-throated sing-a-long to every syllable. You can hear the shared passion acroos all 25 of those years, and the bittersweet memories of import-only, funny little singles, Dick Blade KROQ first plays and general back-in-the-day West Coast chaos. The little lamb climax is delivered by Morrissey tonight with the true empathetic and fevered passion that I always felt was only ever hinted at by the Langer & Winstanley version of the song.

There is no time for voices to rest as 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' is up next, and is as perfect as ever. It may be the effect of this night working its magic on me, but at this exact moment I can't in all my years actually recalll ever having been present at a duff live version of this song. At the middle-8 line of 'And the strange dust lands on your hands / And on your FACE', Morrissey, being Morrissey begins wiping his face furiously and repeatedly, right through to the end of his vocal. Both hands, all over, compulsively. As the music comes to a close Morrissey stands, his back to the crowd, to the side of Matt's drum kit. He then moves forwards, but still with his back to the crowd, towards the front of the stage. He stretches his hand out 'behind' him, grasping for something. A couple of flails fail, and then he's got it. The microphone stand is grasped. Safe. Anchored once more.

Round about this time the noise around me becomes increasingly bothersome. A couple of women appear right next to me, seemingly from the bowels of some drunk-tank hell. Their entire focus seems to be on how many beers and shots they can consume, with only slightly less effort being expended on just how loud their screeching laughter can be in response to every single little thing either of them say to each other (which they surely can't hear anyway?!)

Needless to say this slightly punctures the intended effect of 'Meat Is Murder'. This time out the footage ('From Farm to Fridge') is even more disturbing and brutal - I truly could not face it at some points tonight and had to turn away. Also the video resolution now renders the images more clearly - on previous tours alot of the atrocities were, literally, hard to see; this time there was no mistaking the horrors.

As the harridan din persists next to me, I have to make a conscious and deliberate effort to focus on the tender beauty of 'Trouble Loves Me'. In a way it does serve to throw the song's sublimity into greater focus and one realies just how fully Art can soar above the scum of this world. Even when it is sung by self-avowed "human filth"!

As with so many of the other songs tonight there is a sense of (I hate to use the word, as it's so muso..) 'tightness' about the band. But there is just no denying the air of concerted authority, of ownership and reolute power; a shared unity of impassioned endeavour that matches the vocals. Is this as a result of the bond of the residential recording process? Or a more lengthy rehearsal process than normal? The sunshine? I remain clueless, so why worry.

I do realise that I say this every time out, but Morrissey's voice at this point is simply untouchable. It is inconceivable to think now of his state of health just over one year ago. His mastery of not just his vocal technique - his own unique technique - but also his control of the connection between it and his emotions, memories and senses is unparallelled. Even these words I'm using make it sound clinical and rehearsed, like it's a 'process'. It isn't. It is a wonder. And in common with most wonders 'it is best not wondered at'

In particular his voice on the 3 new songs sounded beautiful ~ full of fresh life, strength and vitality.

As with many songs tonight, the slight and subtle shift in arrangements in conjunction with the bands' easy strength make 'Trouble Loves Me' a stunner. Gustavo's piano intro was so tenderly done that it placed you in the perfect emotional space for the song to come (despite my laughing ladies of liquor). The half-light English frowning climax was done with a musical precision and power that, allied with the vocal and physical mercury genius of Morrissey, produces the very finest version I've yet to experience in concert.

Meanwhile. We come to 'First of the Gang to Die', which upon first hearing (of this version), I would have to file in the category marked 'brave and noble try...but no'. The band have basically tried to put a Latin spin on it, in keeping with the lyric's mise-en-scène, but to these ears it just didn't fit. It was definitely interesting, but the lack of drummage from Matt meant that I never felt that full incandescent electric joy that the song possessed back in '04, '06 and onwards. It was fitting that they rested the song for a time, as it was becoming an easy and overplayed choice in the set, but I just didn't see this version as worthy of reselection in the line-up. What it gained in local colour it lost in passion and exuberance. It could develop into a spectacular amalgam of the two styles by tour's end though (with Cliff shaking his maracas...)

I knew, as soon as those haunted strains of static faded into life, that 'I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday' was gonna soar. Firm in the knowledge that Morrissey was in resolute control of his voice, he and his band of MVPs knocked this one clean out of the park. Another exemplary musical touch, typical of the nights approach, was Boz doing his Bowie-sax-climax. A nod, and a tip of the wink.

A double-dose of 'Arsenal' as 'National Front Disco' boots its way off the shiny new re-master disc and out into violent, vibrant living glory. A moment-by-moment reminder that these songs are not just 'legacy product' but flesh-and-blood stabs of Art, straight from the heart, living and breathing as long as he does.

Thus the main set concludes with the band thrashing away for all that they're worth. Now, I had managed to avoid most prior knowledge of the San José set list (deliberately so, not just cos my wi-fi was wonky) other than a handful of songs - the opener, the 3 debuts, and the encore opener. Moz returns to the stage still in his blazer (he must be melting up there. I am sheathed in darkness and a gold glitter top and yet I'm still frying)

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
And so to 'Asleep'. What can one actually say? Where to begin? I knew that it was coming. I knew that it had been set-listed for the aborted South American tour last year. And yet, as ever, knowledge is not enough, and could not have prepared me for the song's effect tonight. The general drunken yawping and hubub behind me at the bar, and on my shoulder, is quashed within one verse, as people just shut the f*** up and are mesmerised by a stately piano, a weeping guitar, percussion softer than the beat of my heart, and one human singing voice. Hypnotised by the complexity and the simplicity of the expression of a single human heart.

Over the course of this last year I've found myself singing this song to myself more often than I care to remember. It is a song that has consoled me, hurt me, healed me, offended me, shamed me, confused and confounded me. It's a song that has saved my life. Sappy, I know; but there you go. All of that comes back to me now, five thousand miles from all that I've left behind - ha! - and I am shivering in this heat. The words become almost meaningless - as in a Hindu chant. I am watching the pale blue blanket of light falling down across the stage, while a pure white beam of light rotates across the contours of Morrissey's face from stage right, cloaking his eyes in deep shadow. One can only imagine the depths. As he sings the words there is an uncanny amalgam of distance and intimacy about him. He appears to be singing out across and above the audience and to a place or a person at some remove from here. Yet the further away that I feel him to be, the greater the connectedness I feel to the words he sings. He seems gone; oblivious to the hushed awe of the crowd or the occasional squeal of ecstatic abandon (not me. I think.) Whether as a result of having to shut himself off to get through it, or whether he's back in the same headspace he was in at the time of writing these words, I have no clue.

On previous tours there have always been a couple of songs in the set that have filled this function, what I called the dark jewels at the heart of a set. 'I Know It's Over' was a classic example, 'Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want' was another. As I said before I can't work out how he does this thing he does ~ the day that I do I'd imagine everything will be finished. The fact that he can do this each time out, this access and deep connection to his own emotion, and simultaneous expression of that emotion, so powerfully and purely, is not a reason to doubt the truth of what he does. It is proof for me of the genius.

Of all these songs across all the recent tours this one, this night, has the most powerful effect on me, and I can't shake myself free of this uncanny sense of far gone distance entwined with the most intimate psychological intimacy. It truly feels like some kind of zenith of his live art.

He micro-whispers 'bye bye' and spends the remainder of the song with his left arm braced across his heart, left hand gripping right shoulder. His shadowed eyes are downcast and he is as still as the grave as the song comes to a close. He resembles nothing so much as the statue atop some handsome headstone as Gustavo adds his heartbreaking child's piano outro. As the song ends one could hear a needle drop from your eye, let alone a tear.

From darkness to kicks of joy as bye bye segues into 'One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell'. One final time, I am blown away that this is the second date of the tour. Hell's teeth, by the time that they get to NYC they may even just match Cliff's legendary stage power...

I am aware that the band must know this song in their sleep but, good lord, the joyful vigour that they put into the version here tonight is extraordinary. It is altogether a fitting end to tonight's concerted gathering when Devon, the boy from '25: Live' is hoisted up on stage. Moz sings the last half of the the song hugging him tightly, walking back and forth across the stage. One image, among many, that I will take away from tonight and never forget. As he eventually goes to return Devon from whence he came the kid hands Morrissey a pen and asks him to sign his shirt. Morrissey duly kneels down, song ongoing, and carefully signs his shirt. Priceless! (I hope the kid got home in one piece.) So that was tonight's stage invasion ~ a 10 year old kid. He kind of said it for all of us. Tonight 'Ich bin Ein Devon'!?

So how to summarise this night? An impossible task. I never thought that I'd see this again. I never thought that I'd feel this way again, from the land of the dead and dying to this la-la land of the living and loving.

I am, quite obviously, a camera, and as I pan across this dark and low, dripping Californian cave, and rack focus on the shining jewel dead ahead of me, I realise with absolute clarity that this is my armour and my ammunition. This must get me through whatever lies ahead.

Life is a pigsty. And yet, here I am, even now, in the final hour of my life, I am falling in love again.

* And, to those without whom, La Plus Heureuse and Ms Nomer, SuperNatural Thanks.

* But, most of all, to the blue aNJel ~ 'Thank You' does not even begin to cover it ~ Wherever you are, I hope you're singing now...


I appreciate all Morrissey has done for animals but I don't know why he continues to eat dairy. He's given up eggs, but the dairy industry is just as brutal and inhumane as the meat industry. He's mistaken if he thinks cows roam in fields and are gently milked by elderly farmers. That's not even touching upon how dairy is fattening and bad for you. He's severely lacking for a passionate animal advocate. Eating vegetarian cheese won't cut it, Moz.

What a snatch

I gave up on this Joto when I was 15. He is sad and lonely and his fans are super greasy. Girl Morrissey fans, why do you all think you need red-dyed hair up in some sort of 50's hair-do and cheetah print tattoos on your arms? It's very tacky. I have two words, Pro-Active. I had no idea that there were so many Mexicans into Morrissey. What does he represent for the Latino community?


Angel of Distemper
On previous tours there have always been a couple of songs in the set that have filled this function, what I called the dark jewels at the heart of a set. 'I Know It's Over' was a classic example, 'Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want' was another. As I said before I can't work out how he does this thing he does ~ the day that I do I'd imagine everything will be finished. The fact that he can do this each time out, this access and deep connection to his own emotion, and simultaneous expression of that emotion, so powerfully and purely, is not a reason to doubt the truth of what he does. It is proof for me of the genius.

Of all these songs across all the recent tours this one, this night, has the most powerful effect on me, and I can't shake myself free of this uncanny sense of far gone distance entwined with the most intimate psychological intimacy. It truly feels like some kind of zenith of his live art.

Yes, even at this late date, Morrissey is still capable of a particularly intense artistic and emotional connection - a rare and inexplicable thing.

Wonderful read Mr. Frady. Thank you.

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
Yes, even at this late date, Morrissey is still capable of a particularly intense artistic and emotional connection - a rare and inexplicable thing.

Wonderful read Mr. Frady. Thank you.

You're most welcome Ms. A.

Are you intending to engage with any East Coast concerts on the current jaunt?

I would pay actual money to read your views on the Sir Cliff Richard performance.


Many many thanks to joe frady. :bow:

Seriously we should chip in to send him to more shows for his excellent reviews.


Active Member
I was at this show, and JoeFrady nailed it. I will add that Asleep made me WEEP :tears:. It's come to mean more to me in the last few months, and this brought all the emotions up, plus it was so intensely delivered, I would have been dead to have not been moved.

We managed to stand at the top of the stairs right off the floor, so were directly across from Moz at his level all night. This was also the best sound I've heard in any venue, anywhere for any artist: my hometown of Boston, NYC and any of the stops on last year's Moz tour. Our perch must have been the sweet spot because I'd go to any show there at any point in the future just for that sound quality.

I agree with whomever said this tour loses something in mega-venues; we saw the LA show a couple nights later, and while it was good, neither the sound nor the delivery were the same as Santa Ana. We're off to TX this week...anxious to see this in a theater-style venue!


My secret's my enzyme.
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