I expected a transcendent experience when I first saw the Moz himself in 1997. I was, however, disappointed. As I walked through the parking lot after the show, I figured that disappointment was all part of it.
At a thrift store in Salt Lake City, not long before the 2014 performance featured here, I found a VHS copy of Hulmerist, Morrissey’s 1990 collection of videos and live footage. That was the first time I had seen a copy in real life. I had only, perhaps, known images of the cover in merch catalogs such as Sessions. Even more so than Robert Smith, Morrissey had provided me with an archetype, an alternative. Although I was a straight white kid growing up in suburban Ohio, his lyrics along with Marr’s musicianship imparted relief from, as well as a focus for, my general adolescent brooding and sulking. In a way the grunge scene never did. I was an outsider because I listened to the Smiths because I was an outsider.
My girlfriend had recently broken up with me and I walked to the show early that night in 2014. It had been seventeen years since my first time seeing the Moz. I realized that at the first show, I was disappointed because I expected, or wanted, rather, a Smiths show, even though he had been solo for a decade by then. At the second, I had become more of an observer, like looking at VHS copies of my young self, or what that young self had become by following a different path.