LIVE – Morrissey @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

Not many 60-year old’s still have eager fans still lining up round the corner for them hours before a show. Morrissey is the exception. Still as provocative and divisive as ever, his loyal fanbase were clamoring to see him again after a long covid caused hiatus to touring. A move down from arenas to the O2 Academy offered a chance to see him up close and personal, and that’s exactly what this sold-out crowd wanted.

With Morrissey, you never know quite what to expect when attending his shows. Will there be a support? Will he have signed copies of other artists record? Will he show slaughterhouse footage during the set?

On the night it was a rather straightforward affair, an opening video played before Morrissey graced the stage. I’m not sure any of the fans were too fussed about the lack of support on offer. As soon as the man himself took to the stage a sea of frantic hands outstretched to him as if he was some sort of savior.

Opening the set with “How Soon Is Now?’ was a bold mission statement. Starting the set early at 8:30 meant that people were running from the bar with pints in hand to singalong.

The set was focused almost on the diametric opposites of his career, with a good number of Smiths classics alongside plenty of tracks from his recent output of the past few years.

The classics such as “Half a Person” and “First of the Gang to Die” got room sized singalongs, but there were many people singing every word to every single song, it didn’t matter what deep cut or unreleased track was played. “Bonfire of the Teenagers’ and its haunting lyrics about the Manchester bombings still showed he had the power to captivate lyrically.

Adorned in his own t-shirt he stormed back onto the stage for a rousing encore of “Irish Blood, English Heart”, trying to reach the hands of the fans from the stage. A classic dramatic Morrissey ending was inevitable, tearing off the t-shirt off and throwing it into the crowd.

Whilst leaving I noticed security bring out scissors to cut up his thrown t-shirt that fans were fighting over. No surprises on the night, but just showed that he still can deliver exactly what his fanbase want.

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