When Morrissey was living in Los Angeles, he could frequently be found hanging out at the Cat & Fiddle Pub on Sunset Blvd, watching soccer games or having a cup of coffee. One has to wonder if he was strolling past Hollywood High School, just a few blocks away, and thought, “I think that one day I will play a show in their gym.” A place that boasts alums like Lana Turner (famously “discovered” while ditching class), Laurence Fishburne, and Ricky Nelson is good enough for The Moz, right?
Indeed it was. After a sold out show at the Staples Center, Morrissey invited a few hundred lucky fans to his prom. The entire school showed up and waited for blocks to muddle through the entry, but eventually got in and waited for the king. No one cared about any of the inconveniences once he hit the stage (after a gushing intro from Russell Brand) – that was when the full on devotion began. And why not? His voice is one for the generations, a crooner who can sing a lullaby (“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”) one moment and become anthemic (“Irish Blood, English Heart”) the next. Opening with “Alma Matters” and diving headlong into a vast selection from his entire catalog (including the Smiths), the man could do no wrong. He even tricked the audience into practically weeping in the dark when he ended “Speedway” and the lights went out as then sang “Asleep” acapella. Everyone sang along. His onstage theatrics and frequent disrobing (oh, the lucky fans that got his shirts thrown from the stage, unless they were shredded to bits once they hit the ground) only served to fuel the fire, as screams of “I love you” careened off the walls. The Moz also occasionally handed his microphone to audience members (which led to more of the same vocal adulation). “Meat is Murder” was done with the expected slaughterhouse video accompaniment (PETA was also an invited guest that evening), and he closed out with the dreamy “Let Me Kiss You.” By then, the crowd was in such a frenzy that when he came back for his encore of “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side,” people were literally launching themselves off others to land on the stage for a handshake or a hug. But a young boy was lifted up and placed next to Morrissey, among the tossed roses and other gifts, and he took the lad’s hand and picked him up to finish the night and truly melt the hearts of everyone in sight.