Long one of rock and roll’s most cantankerous headline makers, the past eighteen months have seen Morrissey refining his troublemaking tactics in new and unforeseen ways. There was the generally well-received but appropriately polemical memoir (issued with winking pomposity on the Penguin Classics imprint, usually reserved for authors of canonical importance), the Jimmy Kimmel/Duck Dynasty imbroglio, a Rashomon-style misunderstanding with the Staples Center over their willingness to serve only vegetarian food during his March 1, 2013 appearance, and most recently a not-atypical spate of tour date cancellations, comically blamed upon his opening act. As ever, it is verging on impossible to separate the persona from the man, or to parse whether Moz is truly miserable or merely having fun. Characteristically, he has responded with droll insouciance to each controversy, most memorably addressing longstanding rumors of his failing health with the Bartlett’s-worthy non-denial: “The reports of my death have been greatly understated.”
All of which brings us to World Peace Is None Of Your Business, twelve largely dense and wooly tracks that comprise Morrissey’s first full-length since 2009′s late-period tour de force, Years Of Refusal. Given all that has occurred surrounding the release, it’s well nigh impossible to hear this new material and not seek some manner of genuine insight into the artist’s current state of mind. And it is likewise difficult not to conclude that that state of mind is very bleak indeed…
Morrissey has cancelled his tour and blamed opening act Kristeen Young for giving him a virus. She maintains that she was never sick and “will not tolerate these lies.”
The touring gods, it would seem, do not want Morrissey to play Atlanta, ever.
One of the old visual trademarks of a Morrissey show is that fans will rush onstage to hug him and he will go on singing, ignoring them, an apt visual metaphor for the way he’s conducted much of his career. But last night, it seems, some fans took it a bit far. Morrissey opened a North American tour last night at San Jose’s City National Civic, marking his first Bay Area show in some years after he’d canceled a few area shows. And during the encore, fans started doing the rushing-onstage-and-hugging thing, and a few got so physical that they were basically bodyslamming him. It’s a bit tough to see, from the fan-made footage, what was going on, but he cut the show off mid-song and did not return. But the show itself was noteworthy for other reasons: Moz debuted new songs from his long-awaited forthcoming album World Peace Is None Of Your Business. (During the show, he called the new album “the follow-up to Viva Hate,” which is factually incorrect, but sure.) Watch fan-made footage of the stage invasion, as well as video of Morrissey singing the new album’s title track, “The Bullfighter Dies,” and “Earth Is The Loneliest Planet”; we’ve also got the show’s setlist.