Live Review: Morrissey @ Alexandra Palace

By londonist_music Last edited 106 months ago
Live Review: Morrissey @ Alexandra Palace

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If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the sweat-drenched shirts that Morrissey hurls into the crowd at the culmination of each of his live performances, then you might be surprised. Rather than becoming a much-loved memento for one lucky fan, the baying mob literally tears the garment to shreds. Scuffles continue well after the lights go up as an initially large faction of tusslers divide into subgroups with each resulting rip, until those successful emerge with their souvenir scrap.

For here is a truly adoring set of fans, hanging on the former Smiths front man’s every word, arms aloft in a kind of pseudo-worship as he dispatches a mix of songs, old and new. Of the former, beefed-up opener ‘This Charming Man’ was a reliable crowd-pleaser, and was promptly followed up with other well-received Morrissey/Marr classics, such as ‘Ask’, ‘Cemetery Gates’, and a truly mesmerising rendition of ‘How Soon is Now’.

The best of his recent work undoubtedly comes from 2004’s You Are The Quarry. ‘First of the Gang to Die’ and ‘The World is Full of Crashing Bores’ both had the fans in raucous voice, while ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ had a particular resonance given the recent political climate.

This special show took place against the background of Morrissey’s recent battles with illness and cancelled gigs. Admittedly he did not always look at full strength, occasionally stumbling over his words, and noticeably berating himself. And yet there can be no doubt that he showed off all his abilities as a masterful performer. No one has ever been better at coupling a sardonic one liner with the dramatic whip of a microphone cable.

Simon Riches

Last Updated 09 November 2009