Morrissey has been in the news a lot lately after the former Smiths singer had to cancel a string of recent and upcoming tour dates after he was hospitalized late last month and diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and Barrett’s esophagus. (There was also that awkward issue with David Bowie not allowing Morrissey to use a previously unseen private photograph of the two of them taken in 1992 for the upcoming reissue of Morrissey’s “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” single.)
The singer is expected to make a full recovery, and is booked for an appearance in LA for Jimmy Kimmel Live on February 26, with his return show scheduled for February 27 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, CA. But when he makes his way on March 1 to LA’s Staples Center, the sold-out show will reportedly be “meat-free,” with only vegetarian fare available and the McDonald’s outlets in the arena closed for the night.
Morrissey, a long-time vegetarian and animal rights advocate, will be donating a portion of ticket proceeds to animal rights group PETA (People For The Ethnical Treatment Of Animals). The performer released a statement saying, “I don’t look upon it as a victory for me, but a victory for the animals.”
Interestingly enough, the Staples Center, which will be meat-free that day for the first time ever since its opening in 1999, had previously denied the same request from Sir Paul McCartney, who’s also a long-time vegetarian and animal rights advocate. Somehow, Morrissey, who’s 1985 album with The Smiths was titled Meat is Murder, got the venue to grant his request.
During his April 2009 performance at California’s popular Coachella festival, the singer left the stage early after fumes from the backstage barbecue became too much for him. “The smell of burning animals is making me sick,” he said on stage. “I can’t bear it.” (See YouTube video here below of the incident.)
Last year, Morrissey said that Coachella organizers offered him a totally meat-free festival if he’d reunite with The Smiths to headline the event. The Smiths were together from 1982 to 1987, and parted ways on bad terms. The members have over the years stated they were not interested in a reunion, with Morrissey, who’s had a successful solo career since the break, adamant about not performing again with his former bandmates.
Being a vegetarian myself, I’m happy when there’s something besides just fries or lettuce to eat when I go to a concert (or a convention or anywhere!), so this news of a fully vegetarian venue is exciting to me, even if it is only for one night. I’ve gone to some places where there’s been some delicious vegetarian food, and it’s definitely a draw for me. I haven’t been to LA’s Staples Center in over a decade, so I’m not familiar with the current cuisine, but if they are going to go meat-free for the first time, then they have to offer something more enticing than lettuce and fries to people. Searching their official site, I see that along with beer and candy, there’s plenty of pasta, sushi, and pizza available. The venue contains more than just concession stands; there’s restaurants too, so any good chef at a decent establishment should be able to create great vegetarian options on the fly. (I went with my whole family to an expensive steakhouse in New York City, and the chef made me a delicious vegan meal without advance notice; the staff told me I could have anything I want and that if they didn’t have the ingredients on hand, they’d send someone out to go get it.) I’d love to go to this particular show at the Staples Center to experience the totally vegetarian atmosphere. I dine often with non-vegetarians and while I try not to let certain sights (whole cooked lobster) and smells (rare steak) get to me, sometimes they just do. And if you’re in a place where large amounts of certains meats are being cooked, and the smell is permeating the air, yes, it can get sickening. So, I find this news about the Morrissey concert to be quite interesting. I hope more details surface after the concert – that is, if Morrissey is able to perform, and I hope he does, as this is a great victory indeed.
In related news, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr‘s new solo album, The Messenger, will be released on February 26, 2013. The 23-song compilation The Sound Of The Smiths is available in MP3 format for only $5 this month, while Simon Goddard’s revised edition of Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87, which provides details on every Smiths song, will be released in Paperback and Kindle on February 26, 2013. The Smiths’ back catalog of studio albums is also on sale right now for $5.99 and under (see below).