Morrissey Tour Live Report. Glasgow: Sunday, October 2.
“It’s great to be grabbed by the Gorbals.” – Morrissey
Morrissey is the wonder that continues to make us ponder. To try to properly review a Morrissey gig, one should be a philosopher, a critic, as well as an unbiased music writer. I am none of the above. Alas, here goes.
The setting for the most welcome of unwelcome uncles (especially in modern-day Britain) took place at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo, an all-seater affair that is noticeably smaller than Morrissey’s last visit here. The last Moz show in Glasgow took place just across the road in the Hydro, a venue that holds a much bigger audience; a fact which before the gig here gave me a momentary sense of sadness. “Maybe the fuckers, haters are winning after all?”, I thought. Thankfully, such nonsense dispersed (Balls to the idea that anyone should even dare try to cancel this genius) as I looked around at the eager faces: some familiar, some young, and some as old as my own beamed as we looked at Morrissey’s best-ever support band. As is customary nowadays, Morrissey’s legions were treated to a backdrop of the man’s own favorite artists before he came on. We got the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Bowie, and even iconic British actors like Kenneth Williams prior to Mozza taking the stage.
Early in tonight’s show, Moz was keen to point out a few things about his last time in Glasgow. Specifically, he spoke about the torrent of fake news published after his last appearance. “Do you see what I have to put up with?”, he asked, referring to lies peddled by those who should know better. Indeed, those of us with integrity in our hearts do know what this great man has to put up with. Many reports from his previous Glasgow show claimed that half the crowd ‘booed’ and stormed out after Morrissey dared lampoon Scotland’s very own dear leader, Mrs. Sturgeon. Side note for my own kudos: The review by yours truly pointed out this narrative was complete bullshit.
“Blah blah, blah, blah blah!” was the cry from Morrissey when taking the stage. Britain’s greatest living poet, singer, and songwriter felt the need to let his lyrics do the talking upon his arrival. And as he should. “How Soon Is Now”, The Smiths classic, set a wonderful tone and benchmark for what was to come. Those of us who hadn’t seen Morrissey live for a while, like I, were struck instantly, dumbfounded at the man’s range. There is no sense of decline in his output. Despite what shit other notable media outlets try to throw, Morrissey’s voice is as strong and as booming as ever.
Moz belted his way through classic tracks like ‘Our Frank’, ‘We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful’ and ‘Billy Budd’, all in what seemed like one perfect moment. I managed to miss his rendition of ‘Frankly, Mr. Shankly’ but enough said about that. At the time of writing, Morrissey has already shared the track list for his new album, ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’, however a release date is yet to be confirmed. Despite the lack of a recorded album (yet), Morrissey treated the crowd to a quick succession of tremendous new tracks from said album. The first, ‘Sure Enough, The Telephone Rings’ was, in scotch language, ‘a belter’ and recalled the heavier, crunch-rock moments of 2009’s ‘Years of Refusal’ album. ‘I Am Veronica’ and ‘Rebels Without Applause’ are other new songs that sounded just as fresh and important as anything Morrissey has sung. The latter was instantly recognizable as a sister or brother track to The Smiths’ classic ‘Cemetary Gates’.
Morrissey often likes to throw a somber tune into his live shows, and rightly so. Usually, it will be a rendition of ‘Meat is Murder’. But this evening it came in the form of the title track of his new yet-to-be-released record, ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’, which directly refers to the 2017 massacre in Manchester. As Morrissey said, ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’ is a track that many won’t talk about. “But… I will”, he maintained. “All the silly people say, don’t look back in anger/ I can assure you I will look back in anger till the day I die.”
Indeed, he remains the only artist with anything interesting to say about such atrocities. These things, and what drives them, need to be addressed and thank God Morrissey has the guts to do so.
An instrumental intro of Auld Lang Syne rang out before Morrissey belted out a song as great as anything he’s ever created. ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’ is a breathtaking song in its own right. But in a live setting, it had the customary effect of sending the crowd all into ecstasy.
“Come armageddon, come armageddon come, come, come nuclear bomb” Morrissey pleaded, and for another moment, many of us here would have been happy to go down weeping along to this ultimate plea for disappearance. Words cannot do this man justice in his delivery and ability to seduce and comfort those willing to listen.
Not for the first time in a Morrissey finale, we were given ‘Jack The Ripper’ as a starting sign-off.
“Crash into my arms” is just about the most Morrissey of Morrissey-Esque lines ever delivered. Morrissey indeed does welcome those brave souls willing to storm the stage in the hope of crashing into his arms. And, as with many gigs on this and previous tours, many of the crowd made their own way onto the stage, some with more success than others. Aging and cowardly as I am, I was happy to observe the beauty on show.
As is almost always the case, I doubt anyone here will have been truly satisfied by Morrissey’s setlist. So it goes. Yes, he paid attention to the few fans who knew only The Smiths, and gave us heart-wrenching renditions of ‘Never Had No One Ever’, ‘Half a Person’, and ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’. Another VERY short encore of ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ did its job in almost reducing the crowd to our knees in wonder. But the biggest problem with Morrissey is the very reason he’s still so adored. It’s his own Catch-22. We want more. We need more. And I think he really understands that, which is, of course, what makes him so special to those of us with half a brain cell. There are many songs I would have loved to have heard, however as with every Morrissey live gig, I was utterly speechless during and upon leaving. Just witnessing this man in a live setting is enough.
Morrissey will continue to get one in the neck from mainstream British media. They cannot help themselves. Whether it be his opinions, unfavorable political badges, or dedication to animal welfare, Morrissey (strangely) gets it very tough in dear old Blighty. So it goes.
At one point Morrissey addressed his rapturous crowd and said, “If I fall down the stairs tomorrow, split my head open and die, can I thank you now for all the years of support…”
Dear Morrissey, the pleasure and the privilege is always ours.
Images by Marcel P.