More about: Morrissey
"I am privileged beyond my wildest dreams," croons a high spirited Morrissey, kowtowing to the sea of adoration and arms outstreched that fills The O2 tonight. After a series of setbacks throughout the World Peace Is None Of Your Business tour, not to mention the news that he's been battling cancer, it is indeed an event to not only see Moz present, but on such fine form here in London tonight.
Following a spine-chilling set from support act Anna Calvi, the stage beamed out videos of performances from The Ramones, New York Dolls and the acts and events that shaped him as a young man - with a huge cheer reserved for 'Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead' met with footage of Margaret Thatcher: an immediate sign that Moz is still as mad as ever.
Furthering this, not only were his band resplendent in 'Fuck Harvest Records' t-shirts, but introducing his last LP's title track he referred to it as an album that was "immediately deleted by a very clever record label."
Anger is an energy, and it runs thick through Moz's veins. As well as taking another jab at the monarchy with opening track 'The Queen Is Dead', performing in front a mocked-up photo of the Queen sticking her middle fingers up, he also took aim at the poultry industry. Introducing Smiths classic 'Meat Is Murder' with brutal footage of animal cruelty, Morrissey said: "I read the other day that 75% of chicken sold in the UK is contaminated, therefore poisonous - and I thought to myself 'ha ha ha ha'."
It's that characteristic rage and passion that carries the show along tonight - keeping the pace despite the fact that while tonight kicked off with a rushing start in the form of 'The Queen Is Dead' and 'Suedehead', the set leans perhaps a little too heavily on new material.
There's a lot to be desired in terms of variety, but the man himself more than compensates. Despite his reportedly ailing health, his voice is as full as ever, not to mention the magnetism of his every moment and affectation - especially when falling to his knees to gaze in horror as the footage of butchered animals plays out during 'Meat Is Murder'.
"Remember me, forget my fate," he mourns, bidding London an emotional farewell before performing 'Asleep'. The news of his cancer renders this moment a little too raw for the thousands of disciples present tonight - and many a bequiffed, middle-aged man can be seen sobbing in song.
If this was a swansong moment, it was an honour to see the artist with such vim an vigour. The pleasure, the privilege was ours.
The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths song)
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 (The Smiths song)
Kick the Bride Down the Aisle
I'm Not a Man
Asleep (The Smiths song)
Everyday Is Like Sunday
More about: Morrissey