Posted by Richard Garnett.
Reviewed on 1st January 2004.
Live at St George's Hall (Bradford) on Thursday, 31st October 2002
Six years since we last saw the man they call Morrissey in this very same venue and a question hangs in the air as to whether he's still got it? Back then I was blown away by an
understated super-star, who held his audience spellbound - an icon of a bygone era I had thought, a part of my own Mancunian lad heritage. How wrong I had been, of course he was all of these, but on the night he was a mighty performer and love or hate his lilting, long song titled ways it would have been hard for all but a few not to have been impressed.
First there is the support act, who have the unenviable task of playing to a quiffed up hard core who accept very little other than that penned by the god Mos. I am however, not quiffed up, wearing a faded Smiths t-shirt, a cardigan and carrying a bunch of flowers in my back pocket so I can be a little more opened minded.
Sack are a big favourite of Morrissey and it's easy to see why, with a similar vocal style and sharp cut to their lyrics. Throughout a greatly under appreciated set they grow on me and the fantastic TAG, their current single, is one of those songs that will never chart, but if there was any justice should be number 1 for a very long time. Perfect!
As Sack depart the madness begins with a football chant of Morrissey, Morrissey... echoing round the grandiose old venue. The stage becomes floodlit in blinding orange light and then white and then there he is and the fans literally go mental. Grown men of 30+ behaving like pre-pubescent girls at a Five concert, hanging off the balcony, surging forward just wanting to touch the man. It's incredible and totally bemusing. As a gig it's a good one, not the best and occasionally the momentum is lost with good, but previously unheard new material. The classics stand out - Suedehead, Everyday Is Like Sunday, November Spawned A Monster and The Smiths - Hand In Glove. The mania reaches new heights as the Mossiah lobs his shirt in to the seething mass of hair gel and Strangeways here we come t-shirts and then it's all over with an encore of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.
As we sit in the queue out of the car park we witness 3 guys beaming like kids who've just discovered a truck of chocolate, proudly carrying the sleeve from the afore mentioned shirt. They are regularly stopped by fellow fans pleading for a piece of the shirt and more bizarrely a smell of it. As one of them puts the sleeve on and dances around like a caveman who has the power of fire we quickly pull away and back into the real world before we are spotted as non-believers.