(photo credit: Courtesy)
Forget about Paul McCartney. If you had a modicum of musical taste and came of age in the 1980s instead of the '60s, then The Smiths were your Beatles, and front man Morrissey was your Elvis.
That's why his appearance with his five-piece band at Park Hayarkon, along with warm-up act the New York Dolls (Siouxsie and Banshees were also meant to play but cancelled) is being touted as the musical event of the summer. Morrissey has strong connections with both the punk-era band, having headed the Dolls' British fan club in the 1970s.
Politically outspoken, Morrissey has found himself in hot water many times, most recently with anti-foreigner comments in England, but at the same time, he's been identified with the explicitly anti-fascist Unite Against Fascism, and this year he made a personal donation to a series of Love Music Hate Racism concerts in London.
Also known for making statements in support of the Palestinians, Morrissey has evidently turned a blind eye to a call from The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to cancel his show this month.
Unwilling to give interviews ahead of the show, Morrissey did allow actor Lior Ashkenazi and filmmaker Gal Uchovsky to fly to London and meet him for Yediot Aharonot. Morrissey had publicly proclaimed the Walking on Water actor as one of his favorite thespians and had expressed admiration for the film's producer Uchovksy and his partner Eytan Fox as well. They brought him a collection of DVDs by Fox-Uchovsky and Dover Kosashvili's as well as the recently published second edition of City Guide to Tel Aviv in English - in which Uchovsky penned an introduction.
Morrissey disclosed that he plans to spend three days in Israel, with the Dead Sea taking top spot as his most desired destination. "I'd like to sit on the beach, cover myself in mud, and then get inside and float on the water," he said.
Fans expecting a show heavy on Smiths material will be greatly disappointed, as Morrissey's focus is clearly on his much longer solo career, which has enjoyed a resurgence this decade with a number of excellent albums. "I sing what I decide to sing before the concert. I don't know if I'll sing the old Smiths hits. Maybe I will and maybe I won't. I'm my own master on the stage. I do what I want. I decide which songs I'll sing, what the set list will be, and if I suddenly want to sing something different, I do it." Once a punk, always a punk.
The main event goes down on July 29 at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon at 7 p.m. for NIS 350. Tickets may be purchased at (03) 604-5000. The NY Dolls play a second show the following night at Barby Tel Aviv at 10 p.m. for NIS 140/160. For tickets call (03) 518-8123.