In no time, Smiths followers were popping up in droves everywhere, boys (and plenty of girls) easily identified by the look they'd adopted from their new-found hero — worn t-shirts, cardigan sweaters and, the dead giveaway, chunky horn-rimmed glasses, an obvious nod to the "Moz."
And the dedication and unbridled loyalty most of his followers felt for their new unlikely leader hasn't really waned in the years since, only matured and deepened. Morrissey diehards have stuck by him through the Smiths' breakup and subsequent release of his massive catalog of solo albums. The outspoken and highly literate singer has never shied away from voicing his opinions and making his beliefs known. A staunch vegetarian and as harsh a critic as any of British monarchy, Morrissey has done and said as much to vilify himself among his detractors as he has to endear himself to his supporters.
His biggest dilemma of late has been the ability to stick to a steady touring schedule. While Morrissey regularly schedules concerts and performances all around the globe, he's earned the reputation of being a habitual breaker of promises and broken engagements; in recent years, his cancellations seem to outnumber his actual appearances.
So, it's with mixed feelings and emotions that Moz fans accept this week's announcement of an impending U.S. tour schedule (which includes a stop at St. Petersburg's gorgeous Mahaffey Theater on Fri., May 30). Will he show up? Will he cancel? Will he scrap the whole tour? While skeptics may not be willing to take the bait this time, hordes of us loyal believers are more than overjoyed with the news.
As unpredictable and inexplicable as his antics and rants have come across for the better part of 30 years, Morrissey knows how to rise to the occasion and let his music and his passion do the talking. His combination of solo material mixed with plenty of Smiths classics tossed in recent live setlists seems to be an enticing-enough attraction to even the most casual of his fans. His voice is still as commanding and emotive as ever and his mastery of the coy, teasing, flaunting star of stage presence he's worked so hard on for decades is the stuff of legend.
So, for those who are elated by the news that Moz is coming to visit us again: rejoice. The countdown until his scheduled Bay area visit will seem long and arduous. For those who've dismissed him and aren't buying the news that he's really coming, stay home and turn your nose up at him.
The vehement differing of opinions in public figures and rock stars often makes for interesting opposing viewpoints and heated debates. And, if there's been a more intriguing, enigmatic, paradoxical rock 'n roll figure to tear apart and argue about for the last 30 years than Morrissey, I haven't seen or heard of him yet.
Show details: Morrissey stops at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fri., May 30, 2014, at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $55-$89.50, and go on sale this Fri., Feb. 21 at noon. Click here for more information. Suggested Morrissey/Smiths playlist below...
Suggested Morrissey/Smiths Playlist