"Battersea - So Much To Answer For"
by Jo Solders

Well I just got home a few hours ago from Battersea. It was great to see Moz again and he looked good, he came out in the usual trousers and shirts ensemble but had a beautiful jacket on and it fitted him quite well. Not too small as in the past. All dark, charcoal gray maybe, if not black attire.

Got to Battersea at 1:30 pm and met up with Mel, Mozmonger, Rachel, Naomi, Laurence (goth girl) from the Panic List as well as Julia Riley, Iain and Marilyn et al. The actual concert was not inside the old power station but in a venue (all heated) set up for the December 'Midland '97' shows. After freezing for hours, we were let in in groups to keep some sense of control. "Go in nicely", they said - we pushed and prodded one another in the frenzy up some stairs into the venue. "Walk, don't run", of course, we RAN (though my legs were numb) for the front of the stage. The seats were quite a distance from the stage and there was a huge open floor between the seated area and the stage so I situated myself on the right side, next to the barrier (oh well I'll never learn) along with everyone else I was with. So we held our battle stations. The stage was separated by a way too large security barrier - too far away. No Moz contact unless you got over the railing and got his hand (which several did). I think Moz would have preferred the audience to be much closer to him. The closest people in the pit were the photographers (dozen or so) and the security mongers so there was a chasm (an ocean wide.)

Same Robert Wagner backdrop, smoke and "The Operation" intro as before on the US tour but still I was excited and kept looking for Moz to enter the stage. Maybe this was London, so this was new or different (the set, the backdrop, stage personae of Moz) to this audience so it became a different experience for me. Same band but Jonny had much shorter hair while Alain's was more in a rockabilly style. Boz still looked the same though I was amused to see him onstage while the crew were setting up, he had a cigarette in his mouth (No Smoking venue but they did sell hot dogs!), checking on his amps, non-chalantly and I don't know if many people realized it was him up there. Moz still had no quiff but I like the new look Moz, more mature with his age. Okay enough of the hair updates.

Moz was quite talkative. Setlist correct but I may have the stage banter a bit mixed up:

"Do Your Best and Don't Worry" - "Hello you sexy Londoners"
"Boy Racer" - "Thank you. The gap is quite large but..."
"Billy Budd" - "Thank you gorgeous" (said to the whole audience I guess)
"Reader Meet Author"
"Paint A Vulgar Picture" - "Some people might know this but I used to be the drummer in the Smiths"
"Alma Matters"
"Ambitious Outsiders" (I really enjoyed this one, the best live so far, it sounded faster and different but very cool)
"Trouble Loves Me" - "Yes I thought this would be at the old power station too but I'm from the North. And we're not too intelligent" (I also loved this too, one of my favorite songs of the night)
"Spring Heeled Jim" - "This one was inspired by SW11. SW11. Which means, absolutely nothing"
"Now My Heart is Full" - Yes, what is it you'd like to know?"
"Roy's Keen" - "This one is about no one you really know"
"Satan Rejected My Soul" -  "I can't believe it, but we're about to release our first Christmas single" (before) ... "Merry Christmas" (after)
"Shoplifters" - "This one is called 'Sorrow Will Come in the End'" (before) ... "Thank you, I love you." (after)

Like I said, the banter might be a bit off and I may have forgotten a few things but Moz was in fine form. I loved that he did more Maladjusted songs since the end of the US tour saw him do more Vauxhall songs. The crowd was really excited and up to see him too and it was great for me to see a show in London with British fans. Though I was up front, it was nowhere as painful and manic as Salt Lake City or Las Vegas for me so I enjoyed the show probably because I didn't pass out and wasn't in extreme pain for once. There were also two large screens that showed his Royal Mozness in all his glory which I quite liked. So whenever some security goon would be in my way, I would look up and see close ups of Moz (which was great since we were kept so far away.)

Moz did dance around a bit, twirl the microphone cable, lie down a few times, crouched at the end of the stage but the distance from the crowd dampened things a little bit. What I really noticed was his low key sexy stage personae. In the US, he would caress his stomach or rub his leg or do stunts with his tongue but in London he had that much more toned down. Someone behind me said, "Moz is such a sexy devil", and that he is, regardless of what he did or didn't do. He just downplayed that angle and was not as aggressive as he was at the US shows I saw. He still was in fine form and voice, but would I say anything bad about him? Nah, if I'm crazy enough to fly all that way, wait in the cold, not eat or drink anything and risk my life again, how could I know any better? He did enjoy it when people got to the stage (after being helped out by security) on their way out and gladly took their hand. Many kissed his hand and it was great to see the contact between Moz and fans.

By the last song, people were coming over the barrier (causing panic among the security staff along with mild chaos) and several actually made it onstage (it was a bit high but they used the camera platform to leap from) but the show never stopped because of the stage rush. I helped one guy over and yelled "Go on. They're not looking" and I think he got up onstage too! I love the chaos at the end and seeing security get panic-stricken at the thought of losing total control. However, it was a bit distracting when one person got helped over the barrier and collapsed in a heap with the ambulance people hovering above her. People flying over our heads, this person on the ground, security running around, Moz taking people's hands, ah it was quite a show up front.

All in all, it was a great last show for me to see Moz. The setlist was strangely similar to the first show I saw in Central Park but I liked this show much better, better energy, Moz and the boys in full stride, and I was very grateful to have been lucky enough to have been at this show and seeing familiar faces in a foreign land. It was a fitting close for me since I won't be able to make Chester but that's alright. I'll leave well enough alone.

I'm sure I forgot some things but I just wanted to get this down before going off to bed with thoughts of Moz going through my head.

Goodbye and good night gorgeous!

Jo Solders