It was no fun standing for two hours, waiting on muddy wet grassy ground, with both legs asleep and pins and needle all over your feet. It was no fun indeed that the suede shoes you bought a week prior to the occasion (couldn’t afford Doc Martens) now ruined because you kept accidentally stepping on puddles of mud that most likely used to be one of the golf holes in this ex-golf course in Central Jakarta where Morrissey, the charming man of my life, would have his second live performance in Indonesia (pray to god it wont be his last).
Perhaps the promoter wanted to bring Glastonbury feels, you know, with all that grass, mud, light rain and all. But it’s Jakarta with its terrible and possibly deadly heat and humidity. And if this is true, then the promoter has failed miserably.
But as I stood there on the muddy grass waiting and partly enjoying the 30-minute montage (among which were Maya Angelou’s voice-over reading No, No, No, No and Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen video), I kept thinking that the moment Moz came out of the wing, it was going to worth it.
And it totally, totally was. At least for the most part of it.
After a bow with the band, the charming man marched up to the mic and gave us a short acapella: “My heart, my heart, my heart, Jakarta!” The crowd roared and Suedehead came to play as the opening song for the night.
It was my first time attending his gigs and it was almost surreal. I was constantly at the verge of bursting into tears, between utter joy and disbelief that I could live to see this day, that I could cross path with this man who came up with the most memorable lines in the history of song writing like to die by your side, well, the privilege, the pleasure is mine or the more you ignore me, the closer I get, you’re wasting your time.
I tried to keep my composure as I, along with the rest of the concert goers, sang along to his greatest hits including Alma Matters, Everyday is Like Sunday, Kiss Me A Lot, Speedway (where Gustavo flawlessly sang the last verse in Spanish), and Ouija Ouija Board.
And then it wasn’t long until Moz went political. After throwing his shirt to the audience during the end of Let Me Kiss You, he came back to the stage wearing a black shirt and asking the crowds whether we liked Donald Trump. I’m not sure what he made out of the noises coming from the fans, but then he went on saying “I’m surprised” followed with the exquisite World Peace is None of Your Business (substituting “ooh Egypt, Ukraine” with “ooh the USA“).
He didn’t stop there. After I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, You’re the One for Me Fatty, Judy is a Punk, and Jack the Ripper, he continued with Ganglord with a video montage of police brutality playing on the screen. This was too depressing I may say. Too much violence I had to look away from the stage. There were also some disturbing clips of police fatally harming dogs that I just couldn’t watch. Knowing Morrissey and his outspoken political views, it is not surprising at all.
The tension from the brutal video was eased a bit as Moz continued with First of the Gang to Die and The Bullfighter Dies. And then, the screen showed a picture of Prince William and Kate. Over this backdrop, Moz sang This World is Full of Crashing Bores.
I enjoyed wholeheartedly the next two songs, How Soon is Now? and You have Killed Me, until I had to look away again after Moz pleaded “please don’t kill anything” and continued with vegetarian’s anthem Meat is Murder. This time, the screen showed horrifying video of animal cruelty.
Refusing to look at the stage, I only listened to Moz sang with my head turned sideways, fixing my gaze on some tall buildings nearby. Even after over three decades since the song’s first released, you can tell by the way he emphasized the lines “Eat, kill! Eat, kill! Murder!” that Moz is still as pissed at the meat industry as ever. After the song ended, the screen turned black and the huge white letters appeared.
When I looked up, Moz was nowhere to be found. At first I didn’t fret. I was so sure he was just changing and would come out again to deliver the encore (I was hoping I’m Not a Man as I heard it rehearsed during soundcheck).
But soon, one by one, the band exited the stage and I grew worried. It was not until 20 minutes when the crew packed up the set, I knew it was over. To this day, I still cannot believe that that was it. I thought I was going to experience something like “25 Live” with The Boy with the Thorn in His Side as the final song and people attempting to climb up the stage to steal a hug or a kiss. Too high of an expectation if I think about it again.
All in all, despite the slightly unenthusiastic crowd, the sickly heat, the muddy venue, and ruined shoes, I was having fun. The set was really nice, jam-packed with good old stuff while the not-so-recent stuff from World Peace was kept to a minimum (only three songs in total), although I was sincerely hoping to get more from it like Kick the Bride Down the Aisle, Istanbul, and especially Staircase at the University ’cause I really, really wanted to see Gustavo slayed the guitar solo. I’m not complaining though, the old stuff is what introduced me to Moz after all. So, it’s a glorious nostalgia.
Yet, as I drove back to Bandung on the lonely dark highway, I couldn’t shake this tiny disappointment that, I suspect now, stemmed from the belief that I deserve a proper goodbye, at least a little thank-you bow and a see-you-later wave. My girlfriend dozed off on the passenger seat and I was feeling blue. It feels like Moz has just broken this unwritten contract between a performer and the audience. But then again, he’s just Morrissey being Morrissey, unpredictable moody old drama queen. And I can’t help smiling when I remember, on some point during the show, he repeatedly yelled at the audience: “I love you, I love you, I love you!”
For what it’s worth, the most important thing is that I got to see the Moz in person, and that it’s a privilege and pleasure in its entirety for the opportunity to be standing before such a living legend.
Now I can die happy.