(You had to sneak into my room/Just to read my diary/It was just to see, just to see/All the things you knew I'd written about you)
He’s coming back. In December. Tell all your skinhead friends!
What do you mean you didn’t ask for a return from Morrissey but had been hoping for Johnny Marr? Too late anyway, as Manchester’s most famous citizen in Central and South America has announced a run of shows at the end of the year.
This will be a summer tour so shirt-shedding may be on the cards again, but as Wind Back Wednesday remembers, peeking between fingers clasped over eyes, it doesn’t take much to bare the breast.
From inside Vivid Live in 2015, ladies, gentlemen and devotees, the quiff with the quips …
Opera House, May 26, 2015
TO PARAPHRASE ONE of Steven Patrick Morrissey’s finer songs – one of the many, many not played tonight - devotion is nice, but devotion can stop you from doing all the things in life you ought to.
Devotion is a lethal drug for any performer and, to a fair extent, for any audience. It feeds and it disguises, it deludes and it connives. It tells an artist that you can do whatever you like because not only are you just the greatest but your audience will be there no matter what because, well, you’re the greatest.
Meanwhile, it tells an audience that what may seem like the ordinary is really genius because, well, it’s her/him/them and they’re here, in front of us, within touching distance if you’re lucky enough, and you’ve wanted this moment since 1983 and oh my god it’s so exciting and and .....
Three years ago Morrissey played some fabulously entertaining shows in this room and at the Enmore Theatre. He was funny, he was droll, he was sexy and he fulfilled many a teen dream. He threw his shirt into the audience as he left and we walked out singing – his songs, Smiths’ songs, good songs.
Now, not even the utterly devoted would claim that his long solo career has been unblemished and a fairer assessment would say there’s been precious few great moments and dangerously close to an even spread of the tres ordinaire and the good. But as 2012 showed, judicious mixing of songs can conjure something special.
However, no quantity of frenzied attempts to get on the stage and hug him (of which there were more than enough to keep the burly security chaps occupied), no torrent of yelled out praise from the easily pleased (one possibly disturbed chap spent the night repeating loudly “I thankyou, I thankyou") and no recognition that he was singing very well, can help camouflage a set list of such tedium.
He began with the joyous Suedehead and slowly wound down for half an hour with plodding anonymous rock such as the new World Peace Is None Of Your Business. He picked up again with I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris and the Smiths’ Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, but quickly resettled into songs that lacked the extra spark of wit or musical adventure, with The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores a dangerously close-to-the-truth moment.
He added possibly the two dullest Smiths songs (the simple What She Said and the over-extended, bash you over the head lecture-in-song Meat Is Murder) and could not recover until the encore’s ever charming Every Day Is Like Sunday.
It didn’t work, no matter what the devotees will tell you. There were simply not enough good, let alone great, moments.
So Steven, if there’s something you’d like to try – such as better song choices – ask me, I won’t say no. How could I?
11. Will Never Marry
14. I'm Not a Man
16. My Dearest Love
17. What She Said
19. Meat Is Murder