Monday, 30 July 2012

Morrissey in Manchester

I went to the Manchester Arena on Saturday night to see Morrissey.

I can't quite imagine seeing Morrissey anywhere but Manchester given his connection with the hometown crowd and witty barbs directed at his native city.

The setlist might have been tilted towards his more recent material and the latest backing band haven't quite got their chops together yet on Smiths classics but Morrissey can still deliver wonderfully anthemic, sing along to every word performances, whether with How Soon is Now or the sublimely melancholic Everyday is Like Sunday.

As a Mancunian of working-class Irish Catholic descent, I'm genetically, culturally and geographically predisposed to be a fan of Morrissey and The Smiths. As a teenager in the mid-1980's, The Smiths provided a soundtrack to what was still very visibly a post-industrial city. The photo of them in Manchester's derelict Central Station summed up the city's decline in the early years of Thatcherism (a few years back, I saw Morrissey perform there, now redeveloped as a convention centre). It's both heartening and intriguing to see teenagers at gigs now who clearly feel the same connection to his music.

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