Last week, Morrissey wrote an open letter to Al Gore, urging the former vice president to demand that his upcoming Live Earth events feature all-vegan menus. Decreed Moz: “I am writing to ask you to do the one thing that will do the most good for the planet and the majority of its inhabitants: not serve meat or dairy products at Live Earth 2015. I don’t mean offering a vegan option — I mean not serving animal products at all … Not only is it possible for venues to provide a 100 percent meat-free menu-as is done now at every concert venue in which I perform, including Madison Square Garden, where I have a show at the end of June — it’s also a moral duty.”
The next day, trash tabloid the New York Post talked to a couple people at MSG about Morrissey’s claim, neither of whom seemed to be totally clear what was going on. The first source chose to remain anonymous:
One staffer at MSG responded with disbelief when told of the meat ban.
“We’d have to close half the floor,” the staffer said.
The second source was Drew Nieporent, who owns the MSG restaurant Daily Burger:
“This is the first time I’m hearing about it,” Nieporent said. “But I love my man Morrissey. He’s a wonderful artist, so I wouldn’t mind. He can do whatever he wants.”
So what’s the story? You might remember a similar occurrence way back in 2013, when Moz went back and forth with Los Angeles’ Staples Center about whether the venue would go 100% vegetarian for a Morrissey show (ultimately, on the night in question, meat was served).
This time, though, it looks like Moz will get his way: We reached out to MSG and were told the Garden would indeed by meat-free on June 27. Way to go, Morrissey!
It should be noted, though, that the venue will almost surely not go vegan for the evening — both Morrissey and our source at MSG specifically used the words “meat-free” — meaning you’ll probably still be able to get an ice-cream sandwich or a bottle of Yoo-Hoo or whatever dairy product you might be able to get at MSG otherwise. And, to be fair, Morrissey never claimed otherwise. He did, though, press Gore to demand the more extreme option, saying, “Serving meat and dairy products at an event to combat climate change is like selling pistols at a gun-control rally.”
That comparison might be a bit over-the-top, but it’s not totally off-base. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, it’s hard not to enjoy watching the Post’s sputtering, misplaced outrage. Look at this stuff:
“The decision to go vegan will be a far cry from what red-meat-loving Knicks and Rangers fans are used to.”
Right. First, they’re almost definitely not going vegan; meat-free is not the same as vegan. Second, it’s not like a bunch of Knicks and Rangers season-ticket holders are just going to absentmindedly wander into the Garden for a burger and a Morrissey show. I did, however, sincerely like this quote obtained by the Post, via Daily Burger’s Nieporent:
Nieporent said he hasn’t planned a vegetarian menu because he’s going to just shut down for the night.
“We’ll just go and enjoy the music,” he said.
UPDATE: Morrissey has clarified the somewhat vague “meat-free” language that both he and MSG employed in their initial remarks. Says Moz, MSG will indeed be going vegan! I dunno if that’s accurate or not, but that’s what he’s saying, and if it’s true, good for him. Good for animals and the environment, too. Here’s what he said in full, via the essential fan site True To You:
Madison Square Garden has agreed to sell no meat or dairy on the day of the Morrissey show, 27 June. This is the first time the venue has agreed to such conditions in its 47-year history, and Morrissey has expressed “heartfelt gratitude” to Madison Square Garden.
(Photo by Xavi Torrent)