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The Son and The Heir

Website: www.morrisseymusic.com
Latest Release: Buy Ringleader Of The Tormentors
Think of your greatest musical regrets. You know, the bands you look back on and wish you could have seen them just once. For me: The Clash, The Stone Roses, The Cocteau Twins, and of course The Smiths.

Mick Jones toured later with the nice, but not quite the same Big Audio Dynamite. Ian Brown has put together a fine solo career but it doesn’t quite carry the weight of The Stone Roses. Liz Fraser hasn’t lost a thing, but unfortunately only appears on the spare collaboration these days.

Hitting my musical stride in the late 80’s, the main attractions for me, were Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure, REM, U2 and of course The Smiths.

The first 5, I have seen live multiple times, and save for New Order, they are all still touring to date. The Smiths is the one I missed out on.

Now unlike, Ian Brown and Mick Jones gone solo, Morrissey is iconic in his own right. That is a perfect word to describe him, the man is Iconic.

While the crowd waited for the show to begin, he treated them to a series of vintage videos include icons like David Johannson and James Dean.

Then the lights dimmed, and the curtains rose to reveal a backdrop of a young Richard Burton (he had used James Dean on earlier tour stops).

The band walked on stage to a French female vocal track and the icon himself took stage to a thunderous applause.

With strobe lights in full effect, the opening shredding chords of The Smiths classic How Soon is Now ripped through the theatre. This was a promising beginning, as Morrissey pleaded, “I am human and I need to be loved!”

He followed this with an early solo track, Tomorrow and it’s cries for someone to “put their arms around me” and to “tell me tell me that you love me”.

I should mention at this point that I have seen Morrissey live 3 other times. In the past, his on-stage demeanor has ranged from indifferent to stand-offish. Now, if anyone can get away with this sort of behavior, it would be the one who has ‘a shyness that is criminally vulgar’. Tonight, however he was as engaging and personable as I have ever seen him. He played to the crowd, constantly touching hands and even reaching out to fans. Of course security, didn’t take too kindly to this.

This was the most intimate setting I had ever seen him in. That combined with his affable persona this evening, made this easily the best Morrissey show I have attended.

After a powerfully strong first two songs, he kicked into my favorite b-side, Sister I’m A Poet and the Smiths classic, London.

The next 3 dipped into his solo catalogue with a couple of b-sides (The Loop, Jack The Ripper – one of the best live performances of the evening) and Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself, from 1992’s Your Arsenal.

Next up, a surprising Smiths cut from Louder Than Bombs, Stretch Out and Wait. The crowd roared as he replaced the line, “it's the eskimo blood in my veins”, with “it's the Manchester blood in my veins”.

He showed his wry humor on the next two songs. During I Like You, from 2004’s You Are The Quarry, he paced the stage slapping hands and picking out random fans, crooning “I Like You!”, before following with “And this is why, you're not right in the head!”

He engaged the crowd with some banter about local boy Kid Rock gracing the cover of the latest Rolling Stone before launching into The World Is Full of Crashing Bores, from his latest CD, Ringleader of The Tormentors.

Kid Rock wasn’t the only celeb under Moz’s scornful watch. He asked if we had heard about Ellen Degeneres’ problems with the animal rescue league after giving away her adopted dog. Morrissey let us know that the problem had in fact been resolved, Ellen had been put down.

For the better portion of the main set, he alternated between Smiths and solo tracks with: Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me, Billy Budd, All You Need Is Me, Death Of A Disco Dancer, I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris, One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell, and Shoplifters Of The World Unite.

He wrapped up with a string of recent solo tracks, including the lead singles from You Are The Quarry and Ringleader of the Tormentors: Irish Blood, English Heart and You Have Killed Me as well as Ringleader’s Life is a Pigsty before bringing the house down with a rousing rendition of Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.

After a brief exit, he returned to say that he asked us to stop him if we’ve heard that one before and we didn’t stop him. “So…take this!”

He concluded the evening with one of his finest tracks of recent years, First Of The Gang To Die.

In early solo shows, Moz had completely ignored The Smiths’ catalogue, but in more recent years, he began to sprinkle 2 or 3 into his sets. Tonight’s setlist was fantastic. A great mix of Smiths classics (How Soon Is Now, Stop Me, London, Shoplifters), some surprising Smiths selections (Stretch Out and Wait, Death of A Disco Dancer, Last Night I Dreamt), early solo classics (Tomorrow, Why Don’t’ You Find Out For Yourself), recent solo tracks (You Have Killed Me, First Of The Gang To Die, Irish Blood English Heart) and even some b-side gems (Sister I’m A Poet, Jack The Ripper).

I suppose I shouldn’t be 100% glowingly positive, there is always room for improvement. To that end I would have liked to hear a couple of early solo tracks from Viva Hate or some of the classics b-sides compiled on Bona Drag. On The Smiths side, it would have been nice to hear him touch on something from their debut or The Queen Is Dead.

Yea you can also get rid of those folks who are more interested in heading back and forth for beers and shoving their way back in, than in the performance on stage. There are many bars right down the street for that sort of thing.

Rumor is that this is Morrissey’s last tour. Stop…we’ve heard THAT one before. Just in case, I recommend seeing this icon live, while you can.