Morrissey’s fall tour might have hit a rough patch in Los Angeles when his performance was unexpectedly cut short, but it was nothing short of perfection in San Diego. His fiery performance melted adoring fans at the first of two sold-out shows at The Magnolia.
The opening act was a video montage of artists that have inspired him – and generations of music fans – throughout the decades: Eddie Cochran, New York Dolls, Ramones, Marc Bolan, and the unexpected, but much appreciated, Massimo Ranieri (possibly the most beautiful voice in Italian music I have ever heard).
The moment his face appeared on the screen, I was hit with a wave of memories that set the tone for what was sure to become an unforgettable evening.
This San Diego show was the first since the announcement of the postponement of Morrissey’s much anticipated new album, “Bonfire of Teenagers,” which was due to be released in February 2023. After this announcement, I was a little worried he would not share any of his new songs, but my fears were unjust. Morrissey delivered an amazing setlist that was able to eloquently navigate through an immense catalogue of a career spanning over 40 years, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Smiths.
My emotions were already running high from the montage that started the evening, but fully escalated when the crowd exploded in excitement as Morrissey took the stage. After a brief welcoming hello, Morrissey started the evening with “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.” The backdrop split into three panels, each filled with a black and white portrait of Frankenstein, and served as the lead into “Our Frank,” which was met with crazy excitement from fans who sang along word for word.
Morrissey then reverted back to The Smiths era with “Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” reminding us all that while many may cover songs originally performed by The Smiths, Morrissey alone is able to deliver vocals that fully embody the spirit of those songs; he is and always will be the only voice of those songs.
“The Bullfighter Dies” followed, and then much to my joy, he played “Jim Jim Falls.” I absolutely love this song and it is such a treat to experience it live. This is the most quintessentially Morrissey song; a well-thought-out metaphor, balanced with the right mixture of sarcasm, zing, and in-your-face messaging about living with conviction rather than just carrying on about things without ever following through.
at The Magnolia
San Diego, California
November 14, 2022
“Rebel Without Applause” was next and left me really hoping for the release of his new album, which as he jokingly put it, is all in the hands of the record company. I remain hopeful after what I heard tonight; other new songs played were “Sure Enough the Telephone Rings” and “Saint in a Stained Glass Window.”
“Girlfriend in a Coma,” or as he jokingly put it “Girlfriend in Pomona,” was another amazing nod back to the Smiths’ days, as well as “Half a Person.”
“Everyday Is Like Sunday” is one of those magical moments at any of his shows and tonight was no different. Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs, arms reaching out as if to catch a piece of him from the stage no matter how near or far they were.
The show ended as strongly as it started. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” from the Smiths’ catalogue, and then to one of his most amazing songs, “Jack the Ripper.” For the encore, “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” got everyone bouncing off their feet.
It is really hard to look at Morrissey’s musical catalogue and say “Well he should have played this or that.” As a fan, of course I would want to hear everything. But I think tonight’s setlist was one of the best yet; an excellent balance of classics, solo, and new material.
If you have a chance to catch any dates of his fall tour, don’t miss out. Although, hopefully there will be a spring and summer tour because just one evening with Morrissey isn’t quite enough!