Morrissey, SECC, Glasgow

If there's one thing the boy Stephen Patrick Morrissey has been teaching us for years now, it's that there was plenty to be scared of about the Eighties. The annals of popular music record that it was a time of council-estate upbringings, bad-weathered inertia and a 10-year kick in the groin for the common man, with only the most garishly self-conscious of what passes for popular culture to keep the troubles at bay. Heaven help anyone, those in years to come may muse as they download a Mike Leigh classic from the net, who had to live through that.

On the other hand, they might familiarise themselves with the recorded oeuvre of Morrissey, and imagine those days as a soggy-haired, slate-skied era of romance and underdog achievement. For he sums up every possible description of the era - transforming his own frustrated, archly sarcastic teen angst into a uniquely timeless symphony.

He was the bespectacled boy in his bedroom, awkwardly poring over his own doubts about love, life and, essentially, other people. He was also the consummate entertainer, the strutting stagesmith venting his spleen masterfully with the Smiths, while no doubt imagining himself the perfect hybrid of Terence Stamp and Oscar Wilde. Which, to be fair, he both was and is, a peculiar mix of candid kitchen-sink honesty and superstar unattainability which legions of fans found irresistible.

As the disembodied Scouse voice of Margi Clarke booms out a litany of the Eighties' greatest horrors at this show's beginning, then - "the poll tax", "Hillsborough", "Stock, Aitken and Waterman" - it's tempting to imagine the gloom riding over the horizon. Yet 14 years have passed for Morrissey as well as everyone else, and it's a subtly different character who stands before us at the climax of the year's most welcome comeback.

The 20ft-high letters that spell out his name behind him signal the star's sly approval at the cultive personality which follows him; the black shirt and white dog collar brand him a preacher of Irish Catholic descent; the stunning opening wail of "How Soon is Now?" tacit acceptance of his legacy. "How are you?'' asks a fan up the front excitedly. "I'm as well as can be expected, I suppose'', the neutral reply. "Some things never change, eh?'' Indeed they do not. Like the unanimously ecstatic response to a deluge of old favourites such as "Bigmouth Strikes Again", "Shoplifters of the World Unite", "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" and - from the solo years - "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get".

It's this year's smaller-scale autumn tour writ even more epic for the arena setting, and his excellent band don't let him down once - that this year's "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "I Have Forgiven Jesus" join the canon so effortlessly is testament to good quality control. Then a mournful "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" and he's off - a self-made man, ironically, that Thatcher may have been proud of. But one who only sustains the position through unflinching honesty.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk