|Summary by Michael, from
What a bizarre setting! Morrissey playing his biggest London show in ages and all we see
on our arrival are advertisements for fantastic new offers on your bank account. Rock 'n'
Roll and banking surely cannot mix???
But we, the faithful, ignore this as we make our way into the venue, past dozens of
computer games and mobile phone sales people, to see a huge room we know Morrissey hasn't
been able to fill. All in all, it was a pretty bad beginning to what turned out to be a
superb night. Elcka came and went. I'm sure they were good, in fact I know they were, but
that's not why we came. And finally after a showing of a Lightning Seeds video the opening
to "The Operation" begins.
I'm always scared at the beginning of a Morrissey gig that he might have lost it somewhere
along the way but tonight he was superb with an excited, almost violent, audience. He
began with three songs from Southpaw Grammar, then announced that "some of
you might know that I used to be the drummer in The Smiths" before launching into
"Paint A Vulgar Picture". It was quite a while into the set before he introduced
any material from Maladjusted, but the wait was very worth it. "Trouble
Loves Me" is my favourite song in recent years and the band played a fantastic
version of it. It was also good to see Vauxhall and I being remembered in the
set, who didn't go home and listen to that album right after the gig? All this and
"Shoplifters" too, sigh!
Well, he may not have sold out the gig but it was damned near full by the time Moz hit the
stage. I never know why I ever doubt him!!
Summary by Naomi
I thought that Battersea was very impressive indeed, not least because Morrissey was so
obviously enjoying himself. He was very chatty, and there was an awful lot of giggling
going on... especially during "Shoplifters..." when people were literally being
carried off kicking and screaming... Even when his ring got stolen, he sat at the edge of
the stage, looking slightly bemused for a moment, and giggled. The atmosphere in the
audience was friendly and relaxed, too - and the place was far fuller than I thought it
would be. Perhaps the only thing preventing it from being my Dream Moz Gig was the
distance between the barrier and the stage. Security was fussy, but not excessively
forceful, basically because it didn't need to be. Of the few who escaped its grasp, only a
couple at most actually got up on stage (one to hug Alain for some reason). Everyone else
had to be content with hand-to-hand contact. As a result, there was a certain lack of the
intimacy that I think you really need at a Morrissey concert - Making eye contact just
isn't the same if you can't see the blue of his irises...
Incidentally, the concert sounded excellent, with "Ambitious Outsiders" in
particular coming into its own in a way it really doesn't on vinyl. I'll leave you to
notice that I only mention the songs in passing, and to draw the obvious conclusions
(hmmm). The setlist was unsurprising (notwithstanding the exclusion of "The
Teachers..." which was soundchecked but not played), but very enjoyable anyway. I was
hoping he'd pull something special out of the bag for Battersea - for instance, just
plucking a name out of the air, "The Queen Is Dead" - but this is really
nit-picking. The concert was wonderful, and he was lovely... and I'm never satisfied,
[chorus] But if only he'd tour more often...
Summary by Stephen.B.
The band powered through the set with punkish enthusiasm, with a really powerful chugga,
chugga bass ala 'The Stranglers', this set the tone. The not fully sold out crowd
responded well, plenty of old style moshing at the front just like the good old days. It
took the encore, 'Shoplifters', for the the first stage invaders to breach the moat, all
good fun. The only worrying note is that everyone seemed too old to sustain many more
years of this sort of event. There is no new generation of Moz fans in the UK. Maybe he
should try some festivals next summer, the band are tight enough and powerful to do the
Four days later and I feel that it was even better than I originally thought. Very
powerful, managing to pull it off in a very strange, slightly congruous venue, his best
for many years.
Summary by LLivermore
A long and arduous trudge to get there, so much so that I almost thought I might miss the
I had planned to walk there from my place in Westbourne Park (Notting Hill area), but
because I first had to go to Euston Station to get a ticket to Chester for tomorrow's
show, I ended up taking the tube to Sloane Square and walking from there.
Which would have been fine, according to my stupid map, since the Chelsea Bridge, just
down the road from Sloane Square, led right past the Battersea Power Station. Which it
did, after a fashion, but there was this massive concatenation of railway lines and
industrial yards in between, and while I could see and hear the BPS (there were
floodlights cascading all across the sullen December sky), I had to walk another mile or
so around to get to the stupid place.
Fortunately, I got there in plenty of time to stand around in front of the stage for half
an hour or more, waiting for Morrissey & Co to finish doing whatever it is they do
backstage before shows. I completely missed the opening band, of course (I'm assuming it
was Elcka, and I'd already seen them twice in San Francisco).
Mozzer came out sporting even shorter hair than he had on the US leg of the tour, and
opened with "Do Your Best And Don't Worry." This was followed by "Boy
Racer," and after that, I began to lose track, because the crowd got really hectic.
Since I wasn't feeling well, I had intended on staying more toward the back, but as it
turned out I had little choice in the matter, as the force of the crowd carried me right
up to the front, and though I had to use all my feeble energy just to stay on my feet, I
had a very close-up view of Mr. Moz for most of the proceedings.
"Reader Meet Author," "Now My Heart Is Full," "Billy Budd,"
and "Speedway" were some highlights. "As some of you know, I used to be the
drummer for The Smiths," was how he introduced "Paint A Vulgar Picture."
"We thought we'd never do this, but we've released a Christmas single," was the
intro for the final song, "Satan Rejected My Soul."
He didn't play the obvious one (does he ever?), "You're The One For Me, Fatty,"
with its "all over Battersea" reference, and I was sad about that. Nor did he
play "London," which he did at both of the last two shows he played here in
1995. But he did greet us with "Hello, you sexy Londoners," which was very
generous on his part, I think, since at least half the crowd was composed of yobbos and
galumphs of varying sizes and shapes, few of them appealing. But never mind, I'm off to
see him again tomorrow at Chester.
Summary by Phil Gilbert
Battersea is quite a rough area of London, so pre-gig drinks were contemplated with slight
caution. My friends and I walked into a pub which looked typically Thomas á
Beckett-esque, assuming it to be filled with frightening skinheads. Instead, it was filled
to brim with quiffs and Morrissey T-Shirts. I felt suddenly at home. Midland '97 was the
group that organised the gig and before going in there was an entertainment area but most
people just wanted to get in the auditorium.
When we finally got in, we waited around half an hour for Elcka who were pretty good,
although I hadn't heard any of their songs before. After another wait involving Morrissey
chants and shoves, he finally came on to "The Operation" drum solo, which seems
to be the norm on this tour. Bouncing into song, the whole gig was very intimate and had
an air of unpredictable tension to it which made it emotionally draining. He was quite
talkative, coming out with a "Hello, you sexy Londoners!" Then, "Yes, I too
thought it might actually be in the Station..." He introduced "Paint A Vulgar
Picture" with the words: "As you may know I was the drummer... in the
Smiths." There was a huge roar, but towards the end of the song Morrissey seemed to
be smashing his head with the microphone while mouthing something none of us could hear.
Before "Roy's Keen" he said something like: "This song is about SW13...
which means nothing." "We never thought it would happen, but we've decided to
release a Christmas single..." ("Satan Rejected My Soul") Then, he finished
the pre-encore gig with the words "Merry Christmas!"
After Shoplifters he said a quick "I love you!" and fled the stage. Only a few
people got on stage, though a group of three managed to make Alain drop his guitar which
he seemed annoyed about. Other than that there wasn't much of a chance to get on stage
because it was quite a big venue, that appeared almost sold-out. Overall, Morrissey was on
top form, really energetic and his voice was strong. People complained a little about the
shortness of the gig - but it's meant to be like that. It's not Oasis with "Champagne
Supernova" going on for 12 minutes - it's meant to be punchy and energetic. Hurrah
Summary by Bradley Gene Smith
This was a very special night for me, my first ever Morrissey concert... I'm an American
studying in Canterbury, England for a year and I came here as soon as Moz left for
America, so I completely missed the American leg and I feared I would never get to see the
ole guy. But then wonderful Battersea and my hopes and prayers were answered.
The openers were alright... though I think the singer has been watching his Echo and the
Bunnymen and Pulp videos a little too often. But still a pretty good diversion for half an
hour. Then oh splendid moment, the man himself. I and the rest of the crowd went wild. I
managed to make my way to the front center and even though I had to fight to stay on my
feet it was worth every minute. I won't go into the set list, as that's been done
His stage banter was quite funny, "Hello, you sexy Londoners." at the beginning.
but at times a bit puzzling... before "Trouble Loves Me," over the chants of
"Morrissey, Morrissey, Morrissey..." he said, "I don't mind being heckled.
I mean I don't mind being heckled." Puzzling? Yes. Before "Roy's Keen..."
"This is a song about, uh, no one you know." And before "Spring-heeled
Jim..." "this was partly inspired by SW 11... SW 11, which of course means
nothing." This of course was truly puzzling for me but later a British friend
explained that it is the post code for Vauxhall. And of course everyone has mentioned,
"I use to be the drummer for the Smiths" line, as well as, "Merry
Christmas" and yes, I have told all of my friends that Morrissey wished me a
"Merry Christmas." Sad? Probably. And finally before "Shoplifters..."
he announced "This is called 'Sorrow Will Come In The End" and I thought,
"wow, that's an odd one to play", but then I was blessed with those opening
three chords of "Shoplifters" and I was truly happy. But for me the highlights
were "Paint A Vulgar Picture" which was rather poignant in regards to recent
Smiths and Moz records. "Trouble Loves Me" which is one of favorites. "Now
My Heart Is Full" which did bring tears to my eyes and my favorite off the new album
"Satan Rejected My Soul."
And as I left Battersea, I looked down at my watch and realized just how short of a set it
was but also realized, it didn't matter, it was amazing. And later in bed I realized, wow,
he didn't play any of his hits and only a smattering of singles, yet it was still one of
the best concerts I've ever seen. Which I think is a true testament to his songwriting