Manchester G-Mex on 23rd December 2006
Reviewed by HelenB on 5th January 2007
Having been a Smiths and Morrissey fan for a good few years now, I had this niggling worry of ï¿½what if Morrissey live doesnï¿½t live up to my expectations?ï¿½, but my friend Jamie said to me ï¿½Morrissey never disappointsï¿½, and he was not wrong.
The only thing that did disappoint that evening was the support act Kristeen Young, as the combination of screeching at the top of her lungs whilst punching keys on a piano just did not work. Listening to her, bearable for the first song, actually felt like physical torture after three, and just when it seemed she might be finished, as she was thanking the audience (God knows why, as from what I could gather, at least 3 quarters were shouting various things that amounted to "you're shit, get off the stage"), she proceeded to announce that the next song was called 'Life is not short, it's so long', which pretty much summed up how the crowd was feeling at this point.
Kristeen Young did eventually leave though, and once Morrissey walked onto the stage, everything went along greatly. Opening with 'Panic' was a genius idea, as it got the whole crowd jumping and in positively high spirits. Clearly the excitement was too much for one fan, as he ran on to the stage and had to be dragged off by security, but judging by Morrissey's calm exterior on this event, such things are the norm at his concerts. As are the regulars stood at the front, who apparently never miss a Morrissey gig. He decently pointed out one such person named 'Julia' during the concert and handed her the microphone for a minute. He was clearly in good spirits, possibly because it was the last night of the tour and he was in his hometown, but he really seemed to be giving it his all. He was talking to the audience between pretty much every song, and even dancing around at times. He even found time to call Jamie Oliver an 'obese member of the British Empire', as evidently, there's never an occasion where the chubby chef can't be poked fun at.
The set list which was very impressive, included a few classic Smiths songs, such as 'Girlfriend in a Coma', and 'Please let me get what I want this time', although the chorus was changed to 'Please let me have who I want this time', which worked brilliantly. There were also a good few songs sung from 'You are the Quarry', like 'Irish blood, English heart', and 'Let me kiss you', where on the lyrics 'imagine someone you physically despise', Morrissey ripped open his shirt to reveal his not entirely aesthetically pleasing torso. Such moments just added to the sheer brilliance of his performances. He performed almost all of the songs off his new album 'Ringleader of the Tormentors'. The most memorable ones probably being 'In the future when all's well' and 'Life is a Pigsty', because of the use of a large gong to accompany it, which had an almost operatic effect.
To put it simply, this was the best gig I've ever had the fortune of going to, and Morrissey was absolutely brilliant. His genius is yet to be diminished. Clearly I am slightly biased, in that I blatantly think the man is great. The fact is though, that you either like Morrissey or you don't, but if you do like him, then this gig would have blown you away.
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