“Hello London, thank you for coming… cough, cough,” Morrissey joked as he played what is the last show for a while at the legendary Wembley Arena and likely one of the final live music performances in all of London for the time being.
The Coronavirus has quickly stomped out every major tour, and now it’s shut down virtually every single venue across the UK. But what better way to go out on an extended break than to see the master post-modern crooner, Morrissey. While the crowd was a bit lighter than expected as many choose to stay home due to the warnings, Morrissey was stellar—majestic even—and a show for the ages, if you will.
With no opening act, there was time for Morrissey to show videos from artists who have inspired him over the years. There’s a YouTube video that pulls all of these together if you are interested. Apparently, the fans don’t mind as he has a history of unusual opening acts that don’t always go over as well as they should. Either way, Morrissey took to the stage and set off on a journey through his impressive catalog along with a few gems from The Smiths.
Opening the set with the classic Smiths song “London,” played for the first time in over a decade, the crowd immediately started to swoon. Then we got a taste of the new record with the equally impressive “Jim Jim Falls,” which opens up his new album. Hearing Morrissey sing, “If you’re gonna kill yourself. Then to save face. Get on with it. If you’re gonna sing then sing. Don’t think about it. If you’re gonna live then live. Don’t go on about it,” is a return to form for Morrissey. The critics are in agreement as I am Not a Dog on a Chain continues to get solid reviews across the media.
The remainder of the twenty-four song set pulled heavily from Morrissey’s vast solo material but also offered a few covers, including a stellar version of “Back on the Chain Gang,” which has become a staple in the set. Curiously missing though was “How Soon is Now” which has been popping up in previous setlists and would have been the perfect way to cap off a brilliant event. Oh well, looks like I’m on the hook for the next tour after this COVID-19 mess is over. Here’s to a hopeful resurgence of late summer festivals.
While I don’t necessarily agree with Morrissey’s statements or beliefs off stage, I do celebrate his contributions as one of the most iconic and influential musicians of the past three decades. I also think his new record is the most substantial work he’s done in ten years, and it will undoubtedly please the longtime fans—but there’s also an opportunity to turn on some new ones as well.