Morrissey preached to the choir on Friday night, filling the grand Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with converted fanboys and fangirls of all stripes. He seemed in fine health, but apparently after the Portland show, he was suffering over the weekend with double pneumonia (not hospitalized as originally reported), resulting in the postponement of Saturday's show in San Francisco. I didn't seen any evidence of his ailment at Friday's show, which was announced as sold out on the box office window, although it seemed there were empty seats in the venue.
His band all wore matching T-shirts which I think said "Seaholm," a reference I wasn't familiar with, and they tore through a reasonably varied set of Morrissey hits past and present, concluding with a short run of Smiths tunes for good measure. Highlights were a rarely played "Ouija Board, Ouija Board," new song "Action Is My Middle Name," and the obligatory "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want," which closed the pre-encore set. Moz also offered the much derided "Meat Is Murder," performed in front of a backdrop of disturbingly graphic footage of animal slaughter at factory farms. Sure, it was overwrought and heavy-handed, but the stunt also contained more showmanship and emotional purchase than virtually any other moment in the perfunctory-seeming set. Its competition, of course, was the moment—rather early on—when Moz first took off his shirt, throwing it into the crowd and bolting offstage wearing what looked like a freshly pressed version of the exact same shirt. (If I recall, the shirt came off again later in the evening.)
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!