Seven years in exile, Morrissey returns to the stage on his 45th birthday, in the...
Chris Long 2004
It was a story that could not fail. Morrissey, seven years in exile, returns to the stage on his 45th birthday in the bosom of the city that bore him, and the crowd that meets him at the MEN could only have emphasised their love for him more by setting palm leaves before him and popping him on a donkey. Let's face it; his glories are usually followed by him being crucified.
Who Put The 'M' In Manchester? captures that hour and a half of reverence completely, and comes complete with five extra touches from his triumphant headlining of Move at Old Trafford Cricket Ground ( sadly, though, the history lessons that interspersed that show are missing here) and the promos to his You Are The Quarry singles.
All the usual trademarks are present. Arms lunge at the stage from within security's grasp and he simply smiles a 'good try, good try...'. Acknowledgement of his birthday comes in a simple 'where did the years go? Why did the years go?' His shirt gets to breaking point with sweat, before being thrown to the masses to be torn apart and treasured. Vintage and current, both in one go.
The set list is a fan's dream; opening with "First Of The Gang To Die" and closing with a stunning "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", his fame, his arrogance and his humour mixed Smiths classics, solo wonders and new tracks, whipping a sea of faithful devotees into a lather of ecstasy.
Oddly, Morrissey has chosen an Earl's Court performance rather than this smorgasbord of pomp, emotion and revelation, to release as a live CD. Who knows, maybe southerners buy more live albums? Whatever his reasoning, it's his homecoming shows - in the confines of the MEN and the expanse of Old Trafford - that truly show why he is still so desperately wonderful. Now, about that crucifixtion...