PlayLouder review of Morrissey at Blackpool




Yodelling! Ambiguity! Hold music from heaven! Sarah Bee ogles Morrissey as part of PlayLouder's official 'Oh Go On Let's Revisit The Idols Of Our Youth Then' week...

Empress Ballroom, Blackpool
4th September 2004

Ah, Morrissey. Oh Moz. What is there to say about one of our only truly great pop stars that hasn’t already been said? Said in the festering belly-button of the eighties, boomed in a courtroom, intoned by poncy documentary makers and excitably burbled by the likes of this pencil-monkey? Bugger all. So the only thing to resort to is


which is what the Empress Ballroom resounds with this evening - eagerly before he comes on, and adoringly in the middle of his set. At which point Morrissey puts his hand over his face in the internationally recognised gesture of “aw, you GUYS. No, stop it now! Really. Stop it.”

Ambiguous bastard, we love him. Resplendent Morrissey in a succession of sodden, half-open shirts; swanning across the stage and singing like God’s hold music. His usual careless, languid flounces are – like many of his songs, actually – natural as blinking, even if they might seem cynically affected. The band, as indistinguishable from each other as stick men, are tight as anything and suitably full of glory. He opens, the clever swine, with the shuddery enormity that is ‘How Soon Is Now?’ (soon to be eviscerated by Hundred Reasons – thanks, we’ll get back to you). Room erupts with delirious cheers and the sobs of strong men. Never has a song so saturated with despair invoked such goofy joy.

The old songs, including the wicked, rousing ‘Rubber Ring’ (room erupts with chorus of bastardised yodelling), sound great. Are there pangs of Smiths-fan guilt? Maybe a few. But Morrissey’s always been a bit of a guilty pleasure, requiring justification – “but he’s not ACTUALLY miserable, he’s singing ABOUT misery from a certain wry distance, only of course it’s obvious when he’s actually singing about REAL FEELINGS cos you suddenly find yourself. . .oh, knickers to you, you Just Don’t Understand”.

The new songs, including gentle and lush new single ‘Let Me Kiss You’, also sound great. That one contains his characteristic absurd bundle of contradictions – the heartfelt irony of someone as finely made as Moz complaining about being an ugly beastie. We’re part of this double-edged thing ourselves – Morrissey fans are a funny mixture of finicky, sensitive epicures and arm-waving terrace-shouters.

The encore consists only of a gorgeous elongated ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’, accompanied by everyone. Insert poignant Smiths quote, private expression of dubious desire to lick his cheek/chest/eyebrows, and finish with an editorial flourish.


Sarah Bee
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