by Aaron Zedonis

Oct. 03, 1997

O.K., here is the scoop on the Vancouver show. I got to the Orpheum at about 8:10, and Elcka was already on stage. I noticed two things as I was walking down the center aisle to me seats (7th row, next to the aisle)

1) There was no barrier between the fans and the stage, just three guards standing there. We're not talking about some towering stage either. An average sized person could rest their elbows on the stage while watching the show.

2) The crowd was nothing like I expected. Vancouver is a trendy city, and people were very well dressed. I was one of maybe 20 people who was wearing a Smiths/Morrissey shirt. No meatheads, no dumb kids, just a bunch of polite 20-somethings sporting their best clothes along with thick framed glasses and flowers/packages for Moz.

So I sat through about 30-45 minutes of Elcka. They were excellent! Everything that people said about the drummer was right. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't into them, but you can't really blame them. The lead singer even made a joke about it. "Thank you very much. You have all remained in your seats perfectly throughout the show."

When Elcka ended I walked up to the bouncer and asked if I could walk up to the front and try to hand Morrissey a letter during the show. He told me that only the first three rows would be allowed to stand near the front, so I would have to throw it to him. (but as it turned out people in the first 3 rows & girls with big breasts were allowed up front.)

The drum track of "The Operation" started, and there was a mad rush down the aisle. I seized the moment, moved to the 5th row and hopped over seats to the front. Once the show started, no tickets were checked, so I managed to stay up there for the whole show.

I thought that the band was a little flat (or maybe slow) during "The More You Ignore Me" & I was unimpressed with Alain's solo during "Paint A Vulgar Picture". Other than that, they were great. Morrissey's voice was in top condition! There were two slight variations in the songs. In PAVP he sang "MTV, MTV, MTV, kiss their arses. Sadly this was your life ..." In NMHIF Morrissey dragged out the "raincoated lover" part and skipped the word "puny".

The kid standing next to me was weird. He looked at me like my head was on fire when I screamed after the first chord of PAVP. Later he almost wet his pants when he heard the beginning of "The Teachers are Afraid..." He even tried to start moshing. He was the only kid like that.

Morrissey was very kind to the crowd. He excepted almost all of the gifts that people had (I had to throw mine on stage) and shook/held hands with 20-30 people. His line of the night was "Are you bored stiff yet?" The crowd answered that they weren't. He replied "You will be!"

Then there were the stage-crashers. 10-20 got up on stage, and he was very kind to them. I had the kid next to me help me up (thank you kind sir) during "Shoplifters". Did anyone see me. I was the tall kid on my knees right in front of Morrissey (I was wearing a beat up, black, long-sleeved Smiths shirt and I have a goatee) I feel like my body knew what to do more than my mind did. I instinctively reached out my hand palm up, and he grabbed it ( in the meantime I was put in a headlock.) He looked me right in the eyes and said "Thank you." I instinctively kissed his hand like he was royalty and was whisked off stage into the alley outside. My wife later asked me what I said, because she saw that I was up there for so long, and she saw him speaking to me (we didn't see him speak to anyone else.) Quite honestly, I don't know what I did. Maybe it was the Smiths shirt, maybe he saw me singing to every song (no one around me sang), maybe he appreciated the effort to battle on stage just to touch him, maybe it was the look on my face, maybe I did say something. I'll never know.

The moral of this story is: if you have the opportunity to get on stage, do it (so many people were willing to help!) If you want to get closer, hop seats, don't use the aisles.

Aaron Zedonis