It was quite peculiar to see Morrissey live at Tampere Areena last Friday. In fact, it's taken me five days to recover from the shock of seeing a crucial, life-transforming pop idol. I took dozens of pictures, one of which was quite OK considering that I took it on the mobile camera.
But the worst of all, we were ten minutes late from the gig!
In May I travelled all the way to Helsinki to speak on his 50th birthday at a panel and concert organized on his behalf, and was at least two hours early. The occasion was the warmest, most unbelievable little seminar I've attended as of yet. Compared to academic seminars, the "little seminar" seemed to house at least 200 guests. There was no need for academic show-off, I felt that all the panelists were speaking straight from the heart. The panel was followed by Antti Nylén's spectacular reading of a philosophical essay "On Consolation", and by many young bands making highly original covers of Morrissey songs. Unfortunately, the last train to Tampere left too early and I missed the bands, but I heard bits of the rehearsals backstage, and became highly inspired.
In Tampere, due to life's little surprises, I missed two first songs. And overall, the beginning of the concert was stiff. There weren't enough people in the sports hall, only some 500, and the newspapers claimed the gig was sold out. I forgot to take my glasses, which means I was squinting to see him. When he took off his shirt, and on a couple of other occasions, I pushed myself towards the front, but for the rest of the gig, I enjoyed the distant view and the atmosphere. Young girls were wearing 1930s dresses and big fabric flowers pinned on their costumes; I wonder if this is the official Morrissey fan's outfit or just a passing art school fad. Men seemed almost too ordinary to be true. There was no beer tent in the hall, only mineral water was being sold. This was just great! I am still on the lookout for the perfect Morrissey T-shirt, which the local stores won't sell, even if I promised them 1000 euros under the counter (believe me, I have tried). Perhaps this week in London or its vicinity. Let us pray for HMV's endless storages.
In Tampere, Morrissey put his soul into "Irish Blood, English Heart" and the encore, "First of the Gang to Die". "Let Me Kiss You" was a heart-throbber, but I started feeling mortal panic during "Life Is A Pigsty". Even this song went straight in during the darkest months in Reykjavik, but in the Tampere midsummer light, it was too black, too overpowering.
The walk down from the concert hall to downtown Tampere was spent in perfect understanding with Morrissey fandom, and funnily enough, mineral water was the hit on this journey from otherworld to whatever realities we might live in.
Next time, I hope in the UK. And special thanks for playing "The Last Time I Spoke to Carol" with even more Latin fervour than on the CD. Carol Song hit me straight in the heart in the same way as Tori Amos' Mr Zebra. Intertextuality? If there is a person in this planet understanding the gobbledigook, please inform me.