Morrissey * * *
at the NIA Arena
Review by John Revill

Older, a little wider, Morrissey stormed onto the stage backed by what seemed like an entourage of Butlin’s bluecoats.

Still they made an almighty racket as he opened up with The Smiths’ classic Panic, spitting out the line about "panic on the streets of Birmingham" by way of concession to the locals.

There followed a bevy of newer tracks from his less illustrious solo career, all belted out with commitment in front of a giant projection of what looked like Kenneth Williams’ older, tougher, brother.

The First of The Gang to Die, was raucous enough, but the best was to come later on, in what rapidly developed into a three shirter of a show.

More Smiths' classics poured forth than anyone dared to expect, with William, It Was Really Nothing, followed later by Girlfriend in A Coma.

Morrissey showed he still had a bit of the messianic bent, by throwing his first shirt (red) into the audience at the end of one of his newer songs, before returning in a black one.

This too was dispensed with a couple of songs later as he entranced the crowd, despite being separated by a barrier and wide open space.

He even managed to get in a plug for himself as the 20th century’s greatest living icon, saying he expected to be knighted by the Queen if he won The Culture Show's poll, tongue massively in cheek, naturally.

Alas, the arch anti-royalist didn’t follow this little chat with The Queen is Dead, but by the time he got to his white shirt, he had sung Everyday Is Like Sunday, and still the best was to come. Amid red lights, the band performed a stirring version of that paean to bedroom angst How Soon Is Now which ended with the drummer bashing the biggest gong I have seen outside of the opening credits to a Rank film.

An encore of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want seemed strange. By honouring his back catalogue, along with the newer stuff, Mozza had given the crowd just what they wanted.