The Marvel that is Morrissey

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Morrissey grabbed at desperate hands reaching up from below the stage, knowing he’d just christened the best night of their owners’ lives. These people couldn’t get enough of him.

Morrissey chatted minimally between songs, saying the most with hammed-up gestures during his performance. But he made one particular announcement that made me a fan for life: “Look for me in American music magazines, and you won’t see me. Listen for me on American radio, and you won’t hear me. And I have to say, I feel quite privileged.”

I’m listening to Morrissey now, via a personalized online radio station that is in danger of being run out of business.

It’s a good thing I’m grown up and resourceful — if Web radio stations start to resemble the AM/FM ones, I know where to go to continue to find new flows of music, even if it's old stuff that’s just new to me.

The lights, the sweat, the ripping off of numerous shirts.

OK, maybe only two shirts, which he then hurled into the front rows and hipsters in cute glasses fought to the death to score a thread..

I may have heard three Morrissey/Smiths songs in my life. I blame growing up in suburban Jersey, where before the Internet permeated our way of living, and one had to be 17 before they could drive away from the neighborhoods where only three styles of houses existed.

Other than the occasional Cameron Crowe flick or a Sassy or Spin magazine, I had no insight into the music world, no older sister to take me to an all-ages show, no one to rescue me from Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

In the early-to mid 90s, conglomeration had already began its take-over of Philadelphia radio stations, but there were a few that still struggled to expose kids to music that would grant them worthwhile glances back upon their adolescence. Such stations allowed my ears to hear Sarah McLachlan, Morrissey and Bjork for the first time, but vanished as quickly as the obsessed emo-kids who rushed the stage at last night's show.

Since I’ve been in Tampa, I’ve happily paid 3-9 bucks on any given night to patronize a variety of local venues for great original local bands to entertain me. I’m making up for lost time, doing the stuff I wish I had gotten to do when I was a young one.

So it’s not like me to shell out to see a big name, but that I did last night, under the influence of a friend. We watched the sun set as we drove from Tampa to Ruth Eckerd Hall, getting to our seats in the 10th row just before the lights went down for the incorrigible Englishman to take the stage.

My inexperience and musical ineptitude has sheltered me from the artist. I always passed him over as someone my gay boyfriends couldn’t get enough of. But there I stood with my straight ex-boyfriend, who grew up on Moz’s stuff. As did the 19-year-old hipster behind us and the yuppie middle-aged couple making out in front of us.

After a few songs, I had gotten used to his pomp and showy theatrics and started paying attention to his lyrics, which are poetry.

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