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Morrissey @ The Academy of Music.

June 24, 2015

mozz-0382Text and images by Mina Lee.

This past Saturday, Morrissey filled the Academy of Music Ballroom with devoted fans from diverse backgrounds.

The former Smiths frontman entered to a cacophony of enthusiasm as fans rushed towards the stage and a concert once intended to be seated, informally became a general standing room show. Opening the set with his classic hit “Suedehead,” Morrissey showcased flawless vocals. Seemingly unfazed by previous health problems which forced the artist to cancel previous tours, his energy exuded during this performance.

In such an ornate and grandiose venue, the British vocalist was nothing short of majestic in singled-out, blinding spotlights.

The previous night, Morrissey’s performance at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware was poorly received. The matter was properly addressed – after two songs, he asked the crowd in front of him to help them forget “the memory of Delaware.”

Creating a cathartic experience through deeply emotional and vivid lyrics, as the musician is known for, Morrissey tugged at each attendee’s heart strings with songs like “Now My Heart is Full,” “Everyday is Like Sunday” and “I’m Throwing my Arms Around Paris.”

“Do you feel better?” he asked.

Cheers and a unanimous “yes” filled the venue, but he interrupted.

“No, I’m not finished,” he continued. “Do you feel better when you get it off your chest?”

Never one to shy from heavy material, a graphic montage of animal slaughterhouse video footage played on large projection to his performance of “Meat is Murder” as the lights dimmed. By the end of the song, Morrissey was on his knees, seemingly overcome by grief with his back to the audience, as a probing question flashed on the screen in bolded white lettering: “What’s Your Excuse Now?”

As the artist wound down his set, fans tossed themselves on to the stage to get a taste of the myth in front of them.

He closed out with The Smiths hit “What She Said.

One young man ran up and tackled the singer, seemingly in an aggressive embrace. Morrissey seemed unaffected – never missing a beat – as two security personnel pried the crazed fan’s limbs from the forced embrace. Several more fans attempted to get a hug, only to be shut down and shoved off by now alert security.

For his encore performance, Morrissey performed “First of the Gang to Die.” Voices already hoarse from singing along reached a fever pitch.

Making his final exit, Morrissey ripped off his white shirt in a feral manner and tossed it into the crowd.

The performance at the Academy of Music left Philadelphia begging for more, as a sea of fans camped out by the tour bus for a mere glimpse through relentless downpour of the man who had enchanted them yet again, with tales of unrequited love and heartbreak.

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