[Contributor Ali MacLean checks in from the Friday main stage:]
What can one say about Morrissey that hasn’t already been said? In Los Angeles, the man is a transplanted deity where one can find him belly up at the Cat & Fiddle Pub or overachieving with a string of 12 dates in a row. He may be of Irish heart and English blood, but he is an Angeleno institution.
Friday night as he took the main stage, many years since he headlined the very first Coachella, the only surprise that seemed possible was opening with “This Charming Man,” a song not sung outside of Smithdom. How would he wow us? Would Moz once again ride away in a Cadillac limo, knowing full well, as does Madonna, that if you don’t have a helicopter then you’re nothing. Would he trot out some New York Dolls members whom he essentially reunited, and gave tribute to with archive films before his set?
It seemed that Moz was to entertain us with only his canon of work and a backing band dressed as 1950s sailors. He treated his adoring throng, pushed against the fence up front, to classics like “Girlfriend In A Coma,” and “Interesting Love.” He even threw out droll bits and pieces in between, such as “What’s wrong now? Is there anything I could do to make it worse?” It was about to get a lot worse for poor Mozzer.
The wafting smell of the hamburger and gyro stands made it to the crooner’s nostrils. Morrissey grimaced and then gagged.” “I can smell burning flesh and I hope to god it’s human!”
He launched into his next number, but amidst the lines of ”˜some girls are bigger than others’, his gag reflex took over. He abandoned the lyrics and stepped away for a moment. As the band played the rest of the song, sans words, Morrissey turned pale and swooned. “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can’t bear it.”” He stumbled over to the side of the stage. Welcome to the vomitorium. Bets were placed, money exchanged hands. Would he toss his vegan cookies? Would he be able to finish the set? Would his nausea set off a chain reaction across the polo fields turning the concert into Chokechella?
He began to sing again, but this time between verses of “ask me ask me ask me” he paled and finished the chorus with a loud “blech!” into the mic. It became clear that his coughing and grimacing between verses that he was phoning it, nay gagging it in.
Morrissey soldiered on, whether because of his happy fans or his contractual obligations. As the familiar strains of “How Soon Is Now” rang out, hundreds of girls rushed over to the main stage with shouts of “Wait, I know this song!” annoying the diehard fans in the mix. Mozzer, finished out the show with nary a drop of puke. But that now couldn’t have come soon enough for PETA’s prince. Tonight meat was murder. The murderer of Morrissey’s music.