Friday, 2 October 2015
SomeFruit's Frankfurt/Cologne experiences (part 1)
This will be very difficult. And, lacking BBN's genius, Marianne's eloquence, or Boozelette's charm, probably the most badly written review ever.
The night before Frankfurt was spent in happy anticipation, packing my bags while simultaneously checking Twitter DM for BBN's updates on the progress of his Hull review. I had planned to go to bed early, but I had already been treated with a sneak preview, so you will certainly understand that I couldn't wait to read the whole thing. Around midnight, I silently started cursing Monsieur Bob Le Bitter for keeping me glued to my screen, and about thirty minutes later I wanted to hug him for the same reason. I was too excited to sleep anyway. Eventually I managed to doze off for about three and a half hours, and headed for Frankfurt around 8 o'clock in the morning. Few things are better than getting into your car to drive to a Morrissey show. Spontaneously, I'd say the only thing that beats that is a Morrissey show. Arriving at around 11:30 a.m. at the venue, and after figuring out how that weird parking garage system worked, I got a nice spot at #16 on the list. Neu-Isenburg isn't LA, obviously. The queue was full of familiar faces, and the day was spent mostly with conversations about where we had last met, watching some guys kicking a ball around, and convincing concerned citizens that we're neither homeless nor refugees. Around 5 p.m., I got ready for the show. I was slightly nervous when I stepped out of the parking garage, because this time, I held not just my ticket, but also a mutant monster blue rose.
I was prepared for any reaction, but there was no reaction at all. No strange looks, no questions; that blue flower that is said to cause a bit of disturbance amongst Morrissey's audience members caused nothing here, it was simply ignored, which was fine for me, although I had hoped beforehand to gain some insight into the question what is the reason for the animosity towards BRS, but in the end I was there to see Morrissey, and felt no need to discuss.
Doors opened, and I found a nice spot at the barrier quite far to the right. One guy of the venue's security came to me to inspect my rose - was he suspecting that I had hidden a gun in there? It surely was big enough... I chatted a bit with the people behind me; a guy who had been to Morrissey shows since the 90s and who got very excited when I told him that Boxers might be played, and the girl with the huge sunflower. It was her first concert, and the anticipation in her eyes was no different to mine. Then I heard a female voice with a Scottish accent. "Is that a blue rose?" a woman to my right asked, and I was prepared for any snarky remark, but instead she said what I had least expected: "That's great, I'm in that club too!". I have no clue what kind of face I pulled then (I never have!), and I suddenly felt really weird, because two worlds were about to merge. I wasn't sure anymore if I was a Morrissey fan in a fruit costume, or an incognito fruit dressed as human. Luckily, Mme wasn't really in the loop and had never heard of TWoM, which spared me from an identity crisis, but she gave me her Twitter handle, and I knew that name only too well. I couldn't believe that this was the person who had filmed Morrissey when he arrived at the back door in Hawick in 2011, which had been my first show, and I remember very clearly how I excitedly waited with the others for the tour bus to arrive. Seeing Morrissey with my own eyes for the first time had been a very special moment for me, and I was so happy to find footage of that moment on YouTube later, and now the woman who had filmed and uploaded it stood right next to me. How odd, and how lovely.
Pre-show started, and I was pleased to see many new videos. With the New York Dolls, the usual routine that will never be a routine began. Hearts beat faster, eyes widen, Lypsinka's madness, the curtain falls, Wayward Sisters, a flashlight illuminates the path to the stage, and there he is - appears. It doesn't matter how many times you've gone through these moments, the excitement is always the same.
Monsieur takes the stage sporting the très chic Larry King blazer, greeting the audience in German - "Danke, guten Abend, blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah..." and the crowd is instantly drawn in by the magical opener Suedehead. I'm afraid that I can't give a detailed review of the complete show, because whenever I stand in a Moz audience, I just perceive, admire, enjoy the moment. A few mental notes is all I can write about. The usual "Thank you" or "Gracias" is replaced by "Danke" and "Dankeschön", and, early in the set, a "Bitte", followed by "Bitter, bitter, I am so bitter", which I took as an obvious nod to BBN's genius Hull review. When the first chords of Reader Meet Author resound, I don't even realise right away that I'm about to hear a huge surprise in the setlist, as that song is a regular on my daily Morrissey playlist and therefore most familiar to my ears. It took me a few bars to get aware that this was the Southpaw song that Boozelette (and me too) had been waiting for, and I couldn't help chuckling when a silly thought crossed my mind, about who was Reader and who was Author here - assuming that Monsieur occasionally takes a peek at our blob. People Are The Same Everywhere was a highlight, as it contains one of Ch*ck's favourite lines. Staircase threw me into a bit of a struggle, because I couldn't help looking at him during "three ways", but on the other hand that's one of the lines where I usually close my eyes to reduce all sensory perception to my ears. Many Morrissey songs have such a moment, where an already great song offers you a few seconds of absolute perfection, either through words, or vocal melody, or both. The band was introduced in German too - well, "here is" was replaced by "hier ist", but it was still a delight. If you imagine how NOT cute it sounds when Germans try to speak English (ze horror), the opposite is true for Brits speaking German. During Far-Off Places, he repeatedly pointed at the stage, which I found funny as Neu-Isenburg really seemed like a far-off place; to call it a Frankfurt show makes as much sense as playing in Wigan and label it a Manchester concert. I was so happy to hear Boxers, that one I had most anticipated. Time passed too quickly, and Monsieur left the stage after What She Said to reappear for the encore in a brownish shirt with turquoise sp*rkly inlays. He came over to my side of the stage, and I stretched out my hand - not the one that held that quite frankly ridiculous blue rose monster. It wasn't important to me at all if he accepts it or not. The stage was so close that he easily could've reached to grab it if he had wanted to anyway. As I already texted to Boozey, instead of taking my rose, and much to my amusement, he cheekily went for the massive sunflower from the girl that stood behind me (how absurd really that the only two people with big plastic flowers managed to coincidentally stand together), and tossed it back into the audience. It was so typically Moz. There was a slight moment of shock when someone next to or behind me pulled him; for a second it seemed like he lost balance, and I grabbed his wrist and tried to push him back, but maybe the moment wasn't at all as dramatic as I perceived it. I hesitated to throw my rose on stage, as the stem wasn't exactly flexible but more like a steel wire with a sharp end, and it also had quite spiky thorns. That plastic flower thing was perfectly appropriate for a mechanical Orange, a bit like a parody Blue Rose member holding a parody Blue Rose, but I really didn't want to put Monsieur into the awkward situation of seeing it landing in front of his feet and having to decide what to do with it. So I gently placed it on the edge of the stage in front of me, where it didn't disturb anyone. Shirt toss, he said something along the lines of "You've been very kind, but... Cologne, here we come", and it was over. Too soon, much too soon, as always, but having in mind that I still had another show to look forward to, I was feeling absolutely fine. I watched out for the two girls who had asked me for a lift to Cologne earlier in the queue, had a short chat with them, and while they went to get their luggage, I couldn't resist walking back to the stage to see what had happened to my rose. It was still lying there where I had put it, neither picked up nor kicked away, and I didn't really want to know about its fate, so I left.
Kiss Me A Lot
Reader Meet Author
One Of Our Own
People Are The Same Everywhere
The Bullfighter Dies
World Peace Is None Of Your Business
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Everyday Is Like Sunday
Staircase At The University
I Will See You In Far-Off Places
Meat Is Murder
What She Said
Encore: The Queen Is Dead
I soon found the other girls and we headed for Cologne. There was little point in staying in Frankfurt, as I had no hotel there, and I couldn't check in to my hotel in Cologne at night either, so the obvious thing to do was to camp in front of the Palladium. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that only one other car had made the journey from Frankfurt, so we opened the queue (I skillfully avoided the dreaded top spot), and while the others decided to sleep half-upright in the car, I preferred to stretch myself out on the stairs of the Palladium. If Neu-Isenburg had been a far-off place, then this was certainly even more far-off. The venue was in the middle of an industrial area with neither residential buildings nor gastronomy around, and my only company was a little spider crawling back and forth over the floor and my sleeping bag. After a while, a security person appeared, and I was most delighted that he promised to turn off the floodlight-like illumination of the stairs I was trying to sleep on. It didn't really help my cause though, as there were still five yellow street lamps shining bright on me. Instead of lying in a football stadium, I now felt like sleeping on a Belgian motorway, but I just hid under my jacket and dozed off - not for long though as the place got busier soon. After saying hallo to the usual suspects, I got some food out of the car and crawled back into my sleeping bag to spend the day happily isolated from the world around me. And I started thinking.