Panic on the streets of London!

Wembley Arena, December 8th 2006

Wembley Arena. There are pretty indie kids with lots of hair and stripey t shirts on and there's middle aged couples; gentlemen with respectable jacket, wife with black dress blah blah. But most noticeable are the many groups of alpha-male scary looking builder double-hard bastards who usually would be kicking the shit out of me on a Friday night but because this is a Morrissey gig, they are reduced to acting like 12 year old girls as soon as their hero arrives onstage. Phew!

Before the show proper begins, we are "treated" to a barrage of strange arty-farty pop nostalgia clips of Eurovision song contest entries, footage of The New York Dolls, and lots of other weird stuff which someone as obviously un-cultured as myself possibly couldn't ever understand. It's almost as though I could hear Morrissey backstage going "Oh my God, does no one understand the irony? Look.. look at that tit there... he hasn't got a clue". No Stephen. I don't. I'm not sorry.

In a way, the most entertaining bits of the show tonight is Morrissey's between song banter. Obvious targets get a slating; Madonna for having recently been pictured wearing a chinchilla skin coat, and Jamie Oliver for, presumably, generally just being a cunt. Also, when he introduces the band, for himself he states ".. and I, of course, am Russell Brand" to huge applause with reference to his appearance on the Russel Brand show recently.

Set infront of a huge backdrop depicting Pier Paolo Pasolini (which during "You Have Killed Me", Morrissey tell's us "It's Him!, It's Him!") the set draws heavily on latest album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" but manages not to over do it in this respect. Older songs are thrown in such as "Disappointed", "Everyday Is Like Sunday", a beautiful full band rendition of "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" and also the, ahem, alledgedly WRONGLY controversial "National Front Disco". Suck on that NME. Quite a few Smiths numbers (the opening "Panic", "How Soon Is Now?", "William, It Was Really Nothing", "Girlfriend In a Coma" and a heart wrenching "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want") are also included and it's nice to see that Morrissey finally feels completely at ease playing these songs. But this is no nostalgia show with people waiting around for the token Smith's tunes, Morrissey's solo material, past and present, more than matches them.

So with a two song encore culminating in "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice", we all set off home happy, sad, depressed, ecstatic and in awe.

And then I miss my fucking train. Ho hum.

Richard Bull