Morrissey’s memorable concert cancellations

Longtime Morrissey fans know the drill. Reports of a new album prompt cautious optimism about a return to his Smiths and/or early solo form, which is soon replaced by the declaration, "Well, at least it's better than Maladjusted." Then a tour is announced, tickets are purchased, dreams of storming the stage and hugging the old guy arise, and the cautious optimism kicks in once again — this time with regard to Moz avoiding his nasty habit of canceling shows. With a Morrissey gig tentatively scheduled for Dec. 2 at the Paramount Theatre in support of his new B-sides comp, Swords, we've decided to take a look at some notable showstoppers.

The date: Nov. 1, 1991
The details: Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus, in support of Kill Uncle
The drama: Morrissey was a pop powerhouse in the early '90s, but he was especially popular in Los Angeles, where he sold out giant venues like the Forum and the Hollywood Bowl in mere minutes. And that was back when he didn't even play Smiths songs. So it wasn't the best idea for him to invite everyone inside this basketball arena to rush the stage, a move that shut down the show nine songs in and left 48 people injured. It turned out that the cancellations were just beginning, with 11 concerts on the other side of the country soon getting the ax, reportedly due to the singer's "exhaustion."

The date: Sept. 19, 2004
The details: Alice 97.3's Now & Zen Festival in Golden Gate Park's Sharon Meadow, in support of You Are the Quarry
The drama: After Lollapalooza fell apart due to poor ticket sales — the last year organizers attempted to make it a touring festival — Morrissey finally put the Bay Area on his 2004 calendar in the fall, agreeing to take part in this annual radio-station festival. But it wasn't meant to be, with "sinusitis, acute laryngitis, and a high fever" getting in the way of his appearance at KROQ's Inland Invasion — which prompted rumors of a $50 million lawsuit against the L.A. radio station for not announcing his absence until after the show had started. It also pulled him off the lineup for Now & Zen, which was forced to limp along with Tears for Fears, Howie Day, and Dashboard Confessional.

The date: April 18, 2009
The details: Paramount Theatre in Oakland, in support of Years of Refusal
The drama: Nearly two years to the day after he played an especially great show at the Paramount, Morrissey was set to return to the elegant Art Deco scene of the crime. But after the smell of meat rubbed his nose hairs the wrong way the night before at Coachella, Moz suddenly put the kibosh on this Oakland show. The official excuse was, as usual, illness, which would have been a lot more believable if he hadn't been spotted that night at the DNA Lounge, watching erstwhile opener Kristeen Young. He'd recently brought her back into the fold after booting her in 2007 for announcing from a New York stage, "Morrissey gives good head. I mean, er, cunnilingus."

The date: Oct. 24, 2009
The details: Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon, England, in support of Swords
The drama: Just four months after we lost the 50-year-old King of Pop, it looked like we were about to lose the 50-year-old Sultan of Sadness. While performing the first song of the night, "This Charming Man," Morrissey fell to the stage and, according to reports, was "suffering from respiratory problems and was unconscious." Many speculated that he'd had a heart attack. But after nixing just one other show, Moz was back on the road, doing what he does best: He canceled his Nov. 7 show in Liverpool during the second song after being hit with a plastic cup of beer.

 
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