London O2 Arena, November 29th 2014
Reviewed by Richard Bull

“All of the rumours keeping me grounded / I never said / I never said / That they were completely unfounded… / In my own strange way / I’ve always been true to you” - Speedway

2014 has not been an easy year for Morrissey. The now routine cancelled shows and record company battles aside, there’s the really quite shit-your-pants scary news of his being treated for cancer to contend with. Latest album ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’ was met with a mixed reaction despite debuting at an impressive number 2 in the album charts (beaten only by ubiquitous hoarder of all record sales in the entire universe at any given time, Ed Sheeran). For an artist like Morrissey however, this is really not good enough. It’s good, but not good enough. When you have set the bar so high as on 1994’s “Vauxhall and I” or with 2004’s “You Are The Quarry”, it’s remarkably difficult to better oneself.


As usual, Moz has blamed his record company. The entire band, Morrissey aside, wear T-shirts emblazoned with the simple phrase ‘FUCK HARVEST RECORDS’. There is still some confusion as to the exact situation between Morrissey and Harvest but it probably goes something like this:

Morrissey: As I live and breathe, you have dropped me.
Harvest: Er, no. That’s not exactly tru…
Morrissey: Yes you have. You have dropped me, you have dropped me. And I didn’t like the video’s we made so that’s your fault too.
Harvest: Well, I think…
Morrissey: And I saw you eat a sausage with pigs in it. Not mash potato or whatever’s in Quorn sausages. It’s Moy-Dah.
Harvest: Yeah, fine. Whatever.
Morrissey: And now you’ve deleted my album. A-hoo-hoo.
Harvest: Yep. Too right.

In all fairness, there may be an element of Harvest not promoting the album properly but more likely the problem is, and I realise I may get in all sorts of trouble for this, it’s just not a great album. Again, I reiterate here, it’s not a bad album. But it’s kind of just another Morrissey album. Keep that in mind for the rest of this review.

Commencing with the double whammy of “The Queen Is Dead” and “Suedehead” really couldn’t be a better way to open a show. So it comes as a damp squib that after firing us up and getting off to such an incredible start, Morrissey then play’s a shit load of new material. A LOT. Eleven songs out of a nineteen song set list is A LOT of new material. Which is fine if you have a new masterpiece on your hands. But not on this occasion. Also, when you have such an incredible wealth of top notch best-song-ever calibre material in your back catalogue, we really don’t need to see really very, very mediocre, sub-standard, you-wouldn’t-have-put-this-out-as-b-sides-in-the-Quarry-era material like “Istanbul” or the frankly awful “The Bullfighter Dies” (the latter of which has the only saving grace in that it’s barely two minutes long). It’s only when the real curio’s (by that I mean the one’s which don’t sound like your typical Morrissey jingly jangly album filler) from “World Peace…” come up such as “Smiler With Knife”, “I’m Not A Man” and “Scandinavia” that it kind of makes sense.


So let’s move away from all this negativity. I am beginning to sound like the grumpy old bastard myself. Peppered throughout the set, there’s the odd nod to his past. A beautiful “Trouble Loves Me” and an aggressive main set closer “Speedway” make up for any lull in tonight’s set. “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” bobs along and does nothing in particular however. And then there’s the matter of “Meat Is Murder”.

Again, I’m going to get in trouble here. First, I want to try and frame for you my viewpoint. I feel it’s necessary for me to separate the sentiments of the song “Meat Is Murder” from the way it is displayed at this show. Vegetarianism is a choice made by a person based on their own beliefs. Fair dues. I believe that’s a free choice and, hey, I’m all for that. Fine. No problem. We’re all mates still, right? What I have a problem with is when you take that view and basically tell me that I’m an awful bastard and you’re much better than me and make me watch things on videos that literally make my stomach lurch and take any enjoyment out of the remaining half an hour or so of the gig. I’ve noticed over the last few years at Morrissey gigs, these films for “Meat Is Murder” are getting more and more graphic to the point where it’s actually becoming uncomfortable. So yes, view your opinion, of course, you’re bloody Morrissey, I wouldn’t expect anything less, but please understand that we can’t always agree on everything. Explain things to me but please don’t bully me into agreeing with you. I’m off to tell the teacher.

“Remember my face, but not my fate”. These are the words Morrissey uses before performing “Asleep” as the first of a two song encore. Perhaps a veiled reference to his health or to his musical future, who knows. It’s not the first time Morrissey has teased us with such things. The arena is almost religiously silent throughout the song. And as he repeats the songs final refrain, it really seems as though he may be saying goodbye. So, considering it’s been a night of extreme highs and lows it seems right that we end on “Every Day Is Like Sunday”, as finer a Morrissey song as any he’s penned which induces utter pandemonium throughout the building.

So again, I feel I must point out that if I sound critical of Morrissey, it’s because I fucking LOVE the guy. He’s like a grumpy old uncle who has the best stories and the funniest jokes and always has the best comebacks to any situation. Long may he reign.

Set list
The Queen Is Dead
Staircase at the University
World Peace Is None of Your Business
Kiss Me a Lot
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Smiler With Knife
The Bullfighter Dies
Trouble Loves Me
Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
Neal Cassady Drops Dead
Meat Is Murder
Kick the Bride Down the Aisle
I'm Not a Man
Every Day Is Like Sunday