Morrissey - Who Put The M In Manchester?

May 22nd, 2004: Manchester MEN Arena. It's a night that few will forget and one that will go down in history as the ultimate Mozzer moment. For years Morrissey had played around the city teasing us gently with gigs in nearby Liverpool and Blackburn forever avoiding his home turf. With Morrissey exiled in LA for years without a record deal, it seemed increasingly unlikely that he'd ever make an appearance in the old place. Then the impossible happened: Franz Ferdinand and The Libertines starting singing his praises, a record deal was signed with Sanctuary, NME ended the long running feud, "Irish Blood, English Heart" went stellar and this gig sold out in a matter of minutes.

In many ways this DVD is a much better purchase than the live CD for the fact that you get to experience everything about the fandom and fanaticism up close. From the emblazoned "Morrissey" in huge Hollywood style lights to the rockabilly band that's backed him for the past decade (a few members excepted), everything is based on an image of Elvis. In turn he's become an icon himself and it's now become impossible to listen to the music without picturing the image of the quiff and casual suit jackets.

Whereas the CD focused more on his recent "You Are The Quarry" album and his Smiths back catalogue, the DVD represents Morrissey's shining moments from his solo career as a whole. "Jack The Ripper" with it's refrain of "Crash into my arms. I want you. You don't agree, but you don't refuse. I know you" is perhaps the most underrated moment of his career. "Hairdresser On Fire" with it's joyous piano motif and "Everyday Is Like Sunday" with the mournful string section. The extras are kept to a minimum with five performances from the Move Festival later that year and four music videos including two versions of "First Of The Gang To Die". Perhaps it would have been nice to have a short interview with the man himself.

Both the DVD and CD mark the end of the "You Are The Quarry" period and it will be interesting to see what Mozzer does next...especially considering that every great album has generally been followed by a decidedly average album.

Alex McCann

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