Morrissey began his show at Marina Barrage with an a capella snippet.
"Sing-a-pore," he sang to the tune of Sing Your Life, "any fool can think of words that rhyme."
It was a light-hearted way to begin a light-hearted show in one of the prettiest venues I've ever seen Morrissey at.
Marina Barrage is an outdoor venue that's part of the super new and stylish park-and-entertainment area that fronts Singapore's harbor. The views around and above the open-air venue were amazing--a ferris wheel bigger than the London Eye, a hotel made of three massive towers with a ship balanced across the top of them--and the venue itself had a lovely harmonious design, a long path leading into it that was a curve just like two arms reaching around in a hug.
The show began with Suedehead, and the audience sang along happily. In the days leading up to the show, wandering around Singapore, Nora and I had wondered if it really was a Morrissey kind of town. Every radio we encountered in every store, restaurant and taxi was tuned into the easy listening station. Singapore clearly loved Phil Collins, yes, Chicago, for sure, but Morrissey...?
We needn't have worried. All doubt was dispelled during the preshow videos when a significant number of voices were raised singing along to God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols. And by the time the man himself appeared, the Morrissey love was clearly in evidence.
"How could you have doubted me?" he asked the audience after one of the first songs.
This was in reference to the fact that the show had been postponed and was happening two days later than scheduled. This news had been delivered hot on the heels of the cancellation of the Bangkok show due to the death of the Thai king. It was all very gloomy, and as a Morrissey fan, one always hopes for the best, but when things go off-plan, the specter of a cancelled tour can't help but rear its head. It did in my mind anyway.
But there was really nothing to fret about. Here was Morrissey, happy, relaxed, and obviously in top shape. His voice was sounding great, he was connecting with fans, reaching out for handshakes during Alma Matters. I even got a handshake. Well, sort of, one of those passing touches that happen when a pile of people all reach up to him at once.
The crowd was warm and receptive, very determined at times to let Morrissey know how they felt about him. While introducing the song World Peace is None of Your Business, he talked about the news channels, BBC, Fox News, how they didn't care about us. While he was trying to get this out, he was continually interrupted by cries from the audience of "I care about you!" or "I love you!" He really was having a hard time getting to the end of his sentence because of the constant stream of love coming in on the Morrissey channel.
I think the sentiment expressed by a lone female voice later on in the show said it all.
"Morrissey! I love you so much it hurts!"
There were so many warm and fun things about the show. When introducing Let Me Kiss You, he said something about this night being our only night, it would never be repeated, and so with a sense of urgency, and even desperation, I say, let me kiss you. The lovely red shirt he was wearing got tossed into the crowd and ripped up at the end of that one.
At the end of Ganglord, referring to the accompanying video of police brutality that had just ended, Morrissey said, "I'm not in that video. They asked me, but I said no."
I was thrilled to again get to hear one of my super favorite songs All You Need is Me. This is one of those songs from the album Years of Refusal that are just top top of my list when it comes to super witty lyrics combined with a hard driving beat. Absolutely heaven to hear live.
We got Ouija Board, Istanbul, Jack the Ripper. It was a super setlist, each song sounded fantastic through the venue's notably excellent sound system. It was a very warm night, security guards were standing by with buckets of water to rescue us if the 90 degree heat got too much. As the clouds of mist billowed out from the smoke machine during Jack the Ripper, some of it made it as far as the front row. It landed on my skin with an unexpectedly delicious cold touch.
Sometimes at Morrissey shows, I am overcome with the sweeping realization that I am HERE. It's really happening. The undeniable reality, it fills my heart. And on this night, it was all so extra special and sweet. This show in Singapore was the last on the Asian leg of the tour. I had really warmed to the city during our stay, couldn't get enough of the cheap and awesome curries at the hawker center near our hotel, couldn't get enough of the amazing vibe in the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
And all of it. All the shows we'd seen in Asia, the amazing crowd in Jakarta, the passionate and witty fan wearing a veil beside me who'd heckled Morrissey so fantastically throughout the show ("Spank me, Morrissey!") The amazing shows in Hong Kong and Japan (oh Japan! I think my soul has started a quietly torrid love affair with Japan).
The fullness of it all suffused my heart. Such a sense of balance and completion. There was nothing missing, everything was good, all was well. We were all here, all in harmony, Morrissey was singing The Bullfighter Dies. I tucked my arm under Nora's and rested my head on her shoulder. Perfection.
And then! Perfection increased! Next came the World is Full of Crashing Bores. I have written before about how this song is emblematic of the Enneagram type Four's pattern of longing for connection that results in inevitable disappointment. Fours like me and Morrissey are built to pine for heart connection of the most exquisite kind. Nothing else will do. We can't help it, it's the script laid out by our personality.
When working with this, a most delicate balance must be held. The longing can't be shut down--if it's shut down, the heart goes with it and everything is lost. No, the longing must be held, along with the disappointment of it not being met. And without ceding everything to that, without falling down the well of disappointment and drowning in tears, one must be present with what is. Open--always, still--to the possibility of finding.
With my heart already full, my head on Nora's shoulder, I was given a gift. Morrissey walked over to our side of the stage, and stood at the edge, right in front of us, to sing Crashing Bores.
I love Morrissey. I love his Fourness more than I can possibly convey. The longing in his heart has made him reach out to connect with a world of people through his songs. Countless thousands of people have fallen in love with his songs and his heart because it does. not. count. if. the. connection. isn't. real.
Standing with Nora two feet away from him, listening to him sing that song, there was all the connection. Nothing missing. All the longing too. The seeking and the finding. The sought and the found. The balance between the two. Everything that had already been given, and still the heart reaching out to find even more. All wrapped up in that one song. That long, fleeting moment.
The show drew to a close with a heartfelt Meat is Murder, which he introduced by saying that we should help those in need. He pointed to the animals on the screen being sent to their deaths and said, "They need you."
Whenever I watch the band play Meat is Murder, I always picture them being fueled by rage at the crimes being committed against defenceless animals they wish to protect. Tonight, if possible, they brought even more power and fervor to the song. It was a mesmerizing and sobering end to the show, quickly balanced out by the uptempo encore What She Said.
As the final notes of the outro fell into place, there was such a sweet sense of completion--a perfect show, exquisitely satisfying, a complete and lovely end to the Asian leg of the tour.
And still, of course, I can't help it, my heart reaches out, and I'm already looking forward to what will happen next.
Australia, here we come...
My book I Will See You in Far Off Places: A Memoir of Following Morrissey's 2015 South American Tour is now available on Amazon worldwide