Morrissey Newcastle Arena 23 February 2018

morrissey tixSo Morrissey returned to Newcastle, after quite a long hiatus since he last played in the city. Now Laura is a big Smiths and Morrissey fan; and I always liked the Smiths “back in the day” so we try and catch the great man each time he visits the region. In fact we have seen Morrisey quite a few times over the years including previous concerts in Newcastle, a couple of visits to Manchester (one for his 50th birthday concert which was simply tremendous), and concerts in Middlesbrough, Leeds and Sunderland. So this was a special night for us. And we were not alone; a packed arena was clamouring to see the return of the enigma that is Morrissey.

morrissey 2For me, the preshow videos which Morrissey projects onto the stage screen before the concert, are always very interesting and they give an insight into Morrissey’s beliefs, interests and values. This night we were treated to some great film clips including “Loudmouth” by the Ramones; a wonderful nostalgia trip (at least for me) of “Something Here in My Heart” by the Paper Dolls; a somewhat bizarre version of “How Soon Is Now” by t.a.T.u on Top of the Pops; “I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown; the great rock ‘n’ roll singer Robert Gordon; Dionne Warwick; a blast of “God Save the Queen” by Sex Pistols; black evangelist James Baldwin from 1969 in London; a short extract of a talk by Germaine Greer; the excellent Four Tops on top form (pun intended) singing “It’s the Same Old Song”; “Jet Boy” by Morrissey’s favourites the New York Dolls and finally a drag queen called Lipsynka. Wow. A 30 minute blast of Morrissey’s thoughts, feelings and influences. Just sets the scene, and puts the audience in the right mindset, for for the spectacle which follows.

And a spectacle indeed it is. Morrissey is surrounded and supported by a great band and stands straight in front of a big screen which flashes black-and-white images to illustrate the themes and concepts behind his songs. Tonight we are treated to a mix of songs from the new album, a few Smiths’ classics, a (somewhat random?) cover of The Pretenders “Back on the Chain Gang” and a selection of songs from throughout Morrissey’s career. Early on in the set we are treated to “Suedehead”, from Morrissey’s first solo album. Morrissey is, of course, a great storyteller;  “Munich air disaster of 1958” is a tribute to the tragic plane crash: “On the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the “Busby Babes”, along with supporters and journalists. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene.” (Wikipedia) “The Bullfighter Dies” is sung in front of a somewhat horrific film of a bullfight, emphasising vegan Morrissey’s strong views on animal cruelty (see below for quote from the local paper). “Jack the Ripper” is another story, followed by a wonderful version of the Smith’s “How Soon Is Now”. The encore is “Irish Blood, English Heart” which is, itself, becoming a classic and a favourite of both mine and Laura’s. morrissey 1

““We released our latest CD, long player, cassette in Spain and it didn’t do very well. So this is what we tell them,” he announces – before performing a rabble-rousing version of The Bullfighter Dies, replete with horrific images from real-life bullfights on the big screen. Then there’s four minutes of footage of police brutality during ‘Who Will Protect Us From the Police?’”(Chronicle live)

An excellent performance, and a great return to Newcastle.

Setlist: I Wish You Lonely; Suedehead; I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish (The Smiths); Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage; Home Is a Question Mark; Munich Air Disaster 1958; My Love, I’d Do Anything for You; When You Open Your Legs; Who Will Protect Us From the Police?; World Peace Is None of Your Business; If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look at Me; Back on the Chain Gang; I Bury the Living; The Bullfighter Dies; Jack the Ripper; How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths);  Spent the Day in Bed; Hold On to Your Friends; Everyday Is Like Sunday; I’m Not Sorry. Encore: Irish Blood, English Heart

Thanks to my carer Lisa for the photographs.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Dennis on October 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Always love your reviews. Rock on!

    Reply

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