Last month I’d the priviledge of seeing Morrissey in Omagh and Belfast and here’s the review that ran in Hot Press from one of the shows.
Morrissey at the Omagh Leisure Complex, Omagh
“Omagh God,” grunts Morrissey into the mic before launching straight into ‘This Charming Man.’ As opening statements of intent goes, this is up there with the best of them and the sold out venue, which is normally used for indoor football, is already in raptures. But then you can’t blame people for being excited. The last gig to take place in this very hall was allegedly Boyzone a life-time ago and the punters of the north-west are literally starved of some sonic kicks so tonight Moz is doing his best to feed the five thousand, so to speak. He’s good like that.
During the first few numbers (‘Billy Budd,’ ‘Black Cloud’) the former Smiths warbler almost gets dragged into the crowd by some over-zealous fans, but it’s a trick the old veteran has seen way too many times before and escapes to belt out ‘How Soon Is Now?’ which sounds life affirming. As the band wrench out the last few discordant bars of that seminal Smiths number, Morrissey lies on the floor with his arms stretched out behind his head. He looks like he’s in heaven and the only thing missing from the image is a cigarette dangling from his mouth and a naked lover entwined around his body.
But then this is Morrissey and as we all know by now, he’s made a career out of his awkwardness, so he doesn’t relax for too long (god forbid people might think he’s enjoying himself) giving us a limp ‘Irish Blood, English Heart,’ following by a herculean ‘How Could Anybody Possibly Feel’ and ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ side by side. The best moments of a Morrissey show are when he lets down his sonic shield and you can catch a glimpse of the real man. Before ‘Let Me Kiss You’ (which sounds utterly beautiful by the way) he asks us “Can you bear some sentiment? That’s a shame, because I have none. I live in a world of strangers.”
At one point after a stellar ‘One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell,’ he puts the mic in the crowd and asks Omagh to say something nice. A bloke with a thick, country accent replies “Morrissey, I think you look absolutely gorgeous tonight” prompting the singer to turn his back on the crowd to hide his huge grin. Bless. As the band race towards the finish line with encore ‘First Of The Gang To Die,’ we feel like we’ve witnessed something special and it’s not just because we’re in an odd venue in the country. It’s because Morrissey, for all his talk of retirement, looks alive onstage and finally seems at home with himself. In only took him 50years, but he got there in the end.