Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Last Of The Famous Vegetarian Cowboys

I bought my ticket for the Morrissey concert in Athens back in September last year. So in order to prepare myself, during my trip to England for the Bryan Adams concert I had taken with me Morrissey's Autobiography as a reading companion.
Learning more about the man (more than I already knew from reading Record Mirror and Smash Hits during the 80's) before seeing him live would prove useful to me just before the concert started.
It wasn't so simple however. The concert was scheduled for the 5th of December (a Friday). Lots of people from all over Greece, even fans from abroad had bought tickets. However, as I was approaching the venue it was announced that the concert was postponed. The official explanation was that Morrissey had missed his flight to Athens. Not a lot of people believed that, especially with rumours circulating about his health. A few days passed without any further news and finally it was announced that the concert was rescheduled for December the 15th (a Monday). The original tickets would be valid and no refunds would be issued to those who could not attend. As you can understand, this made a lot of fans angry, especially those coming from other parts of Greece. The rescheduled date was not on a weekend so those few who still have jobs in today's Greece would not be able to make the trip. But even those who had the time, they could not afford to make the trip again. Some people claimed that these particular organizers have never issued a refund when something went wrong with a concert. I cannot verify that, but in my case I remember there was no refund issued when at the 2007 Ejekt Festival the headliners, Underworld, did not appear after they were attacked by rioters who set the venue on fire. However since I had attended that festival in order to see the two bands that appeared before them (Madness and The Beastie Boys) I did not really mind...
So it was that 10 days later I made my way to the venue once again to finally see Morrissey. There was no support band, but before he appeared several videos from his favourite artists were displayed (among them The Ramones and Penetration).

And that's where reading his Autobiography came handy, since it was in there that he described them and how they shaped his childhood and his musical tastes. It was interesting to note that one of these videos was a performance of "Don't Dictate" by Penetration which was one of the first new wave songs that I listened to back in 1979 in a compilation given by Greek music magazine "POP + ROCK".
And then Morrissey came on stage with a rousing version of "The Queen Is Dead" followed by his own debut single Suedehead.

Now, his latest album was a very good one in my humble opinion, one of the best of 2014. So i did not mind that he played several songs from it including the title track "World Peace Is None Of Your Business" which he renamed "World, Greece Is None Of Your Business". Thank you Steven!
Other highlights included my favourite "Every Day Is Like Sunday" and "Asleep" which I had a hunch it was one of the Smiths songs he would play on the night.
But what was embedded in most people's mind was the last song "Meat Is Murder" which was accompanied by an explicit video showing exactly how the animals that we eat are treated and killed. By looking at faces in the crowd while this video was playing I can bet there were several people who turned vegetarian on that night. You can say what you want about Morrissey, but you have to recognize that his beliefs are strong and he knows how to promote them.
But, this was not really the last song. He was back with an encore of "How Soon Is Now?" that brought the house down.
Upon leaving the venue it was ironic to notice all these canteens selling meat-based fast food. There is a rumour that in the past he has cancelled gigs because he could smell them inside the venue. Of course, nothing like this happened in Athens.
Ignoring the food smells, we started the long walk to Athens city centre since there was of course no public transport at that place. There was however a lot of beer...
01. The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths song)
02. Suedehead
03. Speedway
04. Kiss Me a Lot
05. Staircase at the University
06. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
07. World Peace Is None of Your Business
08. Neal Cassady Drops Dead
09. One of Our Own
10. The Bullfighter Dies
11. Scandinavia
12. Yes, I Am Blind
13. Everyday Is Like Sunday
14. Smiler with Knife
15. Asleep (The Smiths song)
16. I'm Not a Man
17. Certain People I Know
18. Trouble Loves Me
19. Meat Is Murder (The Smiths song)
20. How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths song)

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