(Go here for this week's interview with a beta-version of Moz.)
As far as I can tell, the Smiths never played Portland, despite the fact that its second most important member has called our city home for the last few years. Morrissey, on the other hand (he'd be the first most important), has played here five times (at best count) in the last 21 years—make that six after tonight. We took a tour through the Willamette Week archives to see how our perception of Moz the Great and Powerful has shifted throughout the years:
From WW, Oct. 1, 1992, Vol. 18, Issue 29:
"Revered in England where he got his start as front man for the Smiths, Morrissey—like David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and George Michael—is as much an artistic persona as a musician. Much of his arch, eccentric appeal gets lost in the translation between the Queen's English and 'American,' though college radio treats him like a prince. Few of his songs actually rock—he is more a crooner of likable, Continental pop, but there is a definite appeal to his campy, smart-aleck personality. 'You see, it should've been me/It could've been me/Everybody knows/Everybody says so,' he sings to his detractors, laughing all the way to the bank on his current hit, 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.'" (TIM CASEBEER)
From WW, Oct. 1, 1997, Vol. 23, Issue 48:
"For those with foresight who bought tickets to this show early, consider yourselves lucky. The former Smiths frontman has surpassed mere singer status and moved into the realm of pop-culture icon—he admired the role in others so much that it seems to have spread over to himself. While his new Maladjusted (his ninth solo album!!), is no Meat Is Murder or even Viva Hate, there's no reason no to bring your long-stemmed roses and embrace the man who has embraced misery with a wicked wit for so many years." (ALYSSA ISENSTEIN)
From WW, Feb. 2, 2000, Vol. 26, Issue 13:
"I saw Lord Mozzington in California last month: despite having reached his Fat Elvis physical phase, he and his band of rockabilly turks still kick some ass. The fast-paced show ran through some of the best numbers of Moz's solo career, from 'Hairdresser on Fire' to 'Alma Matters,' tossing in some odd Smiths tunes to get all the little boys' panties wet. The only thing scarier than this rocking moper's receding hairline is the fact that his audience just keeps getting younger. And goddamn if the music doesn't remain young, too. Quit your scoffing and get in line, because you're going to want to be down front just to feel a little splash of the old man's sweat." (JAMIE S. RICH).
From WW, Aug. 21, 2002, Vol. 28, Issue 42:
"An alternative Godhead of the aggressive fragility and peculiarly malleable sexuality embraced by fops and gangbangers alike, Morrissey's influence as rock personality has lasted long past any relevance as a recording artist. Would that the generation of self-obsessed emo tunesmiths he's inspired could imitate his ballsy swagger or self-deprecating whimsy. No matter. A bit puffier, with a new Los Angeles residence and four years from any proper album, Mozz endures—charisma, songbook and pompadour gloriously preserved." (JAY HORTON)
SEE IT: Morrissey plays the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, on Friday, March 8. 9 pm. $53.50-$68.50. All ages.