Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Morrissey at the Ventura Theatre

Morrissey Belt Buckle
Morrissey Money Clip

It has to be an amazing artist for me to make the drive up to Ventura to see a show. I actually have been to a few shows at the Ventura Theatre back in the day but the drive is quite long. The theatre itself is an amalgamation of the Wiltern Theatre and the El Rey theatre. I don't often check the concert calendar for Ventura but couldn't pass up opportunity to see Morrissey at a small venue.

I had a chance to go by the merchandise booth before the show started and was happy to pick up a Morrissey money clip and belt buckle. I have been to hundreds of shows and it is always nice to see cool merchandise besides the obligatory black t-shirt. The belt buckle and money clip always seem to sell out as they did in Pasadena.

Kristeen Young (Vocals/Piano) opened the show with her emotionally charged piano driven rock in the vein of Tori Amos crossed with Bjork. Kristeen does have an amazing vocal range as she belted out her songs. She and Jeff White(Drums) played in front of a white back drop that projected their shadows in different sizes in time with the music that added an extra layer of paranoia to her music. The crowd responded well to her songs and didn't start the chant of Morrissey like it has in the past.

"Welcome to the Hollywood Bowl!" as Morrissey cheekily addressed the audience. Some friends and I were lucky enough to secure some rail spots in front of Morrissey on the second tier so that we were eye level with Morrissey about 15 feet away from the stage. Morrissey addressed the crowd rhetorically asking if San Diego had been a nightmare or what? Morrissey was extra chatty tonight and seemed to be in a good mood from the beginning. Morrissey added some percussion via his tambourine during opening of "The Queen Is Dead". Morrissey continued to change up the lyrics throughout the night with some highlights being during the "The Queen Is Dead" saying "of course I can't you silly thing". "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" featured a crazy Moog Voyager solo courtesy of Mikey Farrell. "Ganglord" started off with a snazzy ebow intro by Boz Boorer(Guitars)."All You Need is Me" is another new track that is an uptempo rocker similar to "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "You Are Gonna Need Someone On Your Side". "The Boy With A Thorn In His Side" featured Jessie Tobias (guitars) playing with a capo on the 5th fret and Boz Boorer using a capo on the 2nd fret of his gorgeous Gretsch White Falcon guitar. "Irish Blood, English Heart" featured the lyric change that "Americans are sick to death of Republicans and Democrats". The biggest tease of the night when Morrissey talked about how he would play something off of "Southpaw Grammer" but stated that only Julia and him liked that album. I disagree as I would have loved to have heard any of the tracks off that album. I gasped when a bunch of the audience members stormed the stage during "You Have Killed Me". Boz Boorer signaled to the rest of the band to kill the song as they walked offstage. The band quickly returned to finish off the set without any incidents. Morrissey did mention that the stage invaders just wanted his bank account. "Life Is A Pigsty" is one of the best songs off the new album and is spectacular live. The song features Boz playing two glasses of water that are placed in front of a microphone until he switched to an acoustic guitar. The set ended with the barnburning "You Are Gonna Need Someone On Your Side". The combination of the crowd, the view, Morrissey's mood and voice makes this one of the top five shows I have witnessed by Morrissey.

Morrissey setlist for the Ventura Theatre (6/5/07)
(Max Capacity 1,200)
"The Queen is Dead"
"The Last of the Famous International Playboys"
"National Front Disco"
"Let Me Kiss You"
"All You Need is Me"
"The Boy With A Thorn In His Side"
"Irish Blood, English Heart"
"I've Changed My Plea To Guility"
"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"
"Everyday is Like Sunday"
"In The Future When All's Well"
"You Have Killed Me"
"I Just Want To See The Boy Happy"
"That's How People Grow Up"
"I Will See You In Far Off Places"
"Life Is A Pigsty"
"How Soon Is Now?"
"You Are Gonna Need Someone On Your Side"

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