Morrissey, the man, the myth, the mardy bum. Love him or loathe him you cannot ignore him, some call him a self obsessed opinionated bore not realizing how much some of us dearly love nothing more than a self obsessed opinionated bore.
March is upon us and we have a further five dates of Morrissey’s latest tour coming up on top of a handful at the tail end of 2014. This constitutes a flurry of live activity in Mozworld, a rare(ish )treat not to be missed. He completed the previous tour at London’s 02 Arena and that was a phenomenal experience for this reviewer. Could this opening night of the 2015 tour come close? (plot spoiler, no not quite)
On the day of the gig the local paper reports the not very shocking news that all meat products are banned tonight (then have to explain to a readership of young dullards and aging pensioners that the ex-Smiths vocalist is a vegetarian and that they once had an album called Meat is Murder). Local radio have tenuous links to Morrissey in the form of an aging rocker called Vince Eager as one of his tunes was once chosen by Moz as a favourite to be played at his funeral. When asked if he would be going tonight Mr Eager said ‘No’. What a captivating local story .
There is no support tonight but we do get the preliminary 30 minute film of footage from such unlikely bedfellows as Charles Aznavour, The New York Dolls and Sylvia Plath, the same as the London show, but tellingly with a new clip, Fade to Grey by Visage, in tribute to the passing last month of Steve Strange.
Moz and the band appear to rapturous applause, launching into thunderous renditions of The Queen is Dead and Suedehead, the same intro as London and it soon became clear that this would be a re run set wise of the London show and that is what transpired. He again concentrated on his latest album World Peace Is None of Your Business, but fed us crumbs of previous classics, particularly nice to hear was a cracking version of People Are The Same Everywhere, which was the B side to the 1989 single Last of the International Playboys back in 1989, and the reception that greeted Everyday is Like Sunday was like a tsunami of karaoke joy.
The tracks from World Peace came over really powerfully, the older he gets the more vitriol he spits and it’s all the better for it.
Meat is Murder with it’s awfully graphic accompanying video was visually and aurally an assault on the senses. Istanbul is a raging anti war song, I’m not a Man rages against stereotypes and ‘The Bullfighter Dies’ does what it says on the tin.
Meanwhile, ‘Smiler with a Knife’ was breathtaking, leaving the the audience spellbound by the intrigue hinted at in the lyrics and topped off with a dramatic guitar solo from Jessie Tobias.
Light relief for the night comes in the form of the tremendously upbeat ‘Kiss me a Lot’ and for this reviewer the icing on the cake was a delirious version of ‘Stop Me if you Think you’ve heard this one before’. A special mention must go to former Smashing Pumpkin Matt Walker on drums, who was a one man engine room of palpable thunder throughout the set. He even got to do the kicking over the drum kit rock n roll cliche thing at the finale, superb!
London was a ten, this is a nine, only because of the incessant chattering on row K and no ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’. Minor quibbles on an otherwise thoroughly uplifting night.
Dear Moz, can we please have a Smiths reunion before I croak ?
Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.