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Morrissey - Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, 27/6/2008

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 31 / 7 / 2008

Morrissey - Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, 27/6/2008


Anthony Strutt enjoys a passionate set of classic and some new songs from Morrisey at a one-off appearance at the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park in London

As far as open air concerts go, this was great. The weather was stunning, but sadly the beer wasn't and very pricey, and also by time my friend turned up with my ticket we only got to see the two headliners on the main stage. We would have liked to have also seen the New York Dolls, but they were headlining on one of the other stages and this ate into Morrissey's set. Beck came on at around 8 p.m. I didn't know who he was at first because of his Julian Cope-style mess of a haircut. He played, however, with an air of someone who found it easy to play the guitar, and for exactly an hour, throwing in all his hits and a few new tracks from his current album, 'Modern Guilt', too. Morrissey came on early as well. The park was pretty full for him, as this was his first and only UK date since he played a series of dates at the London Roundhouse in January. A long drum roll introduced the start of the show, and the band entered the stage to large roars from the crowd. The band were all wearing Playboy T-shirts, but somehow I doubt Morrissey went into a newsagent to buy a dirty mag when he was younger. Morrissey told us all, "When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high and don't ever be afraid !", before launching straight into 'The Last of the Famous International Playboys. The crowd sang back at him , and Morrissey said "Thank you very much" and, then pointing to his T-shirt, "If you have any doubt, it says here 'Playboy'!" 'Ask' was the first of six Smiths songs to be performed. They always go down well, even if they are not performed as well as Morrisey's original band. 'The First of the Gang to Die' followed, after which Morrissey said to us, "Song number 4 and still here ! Incredible." This was a reference to him falling ill during his January residency when he cancelled a gig four songs in. It almost caused a riot, but he didn't do the gig again later because apparently if you play at least four songs you don't have to provide a refund. 'That's How People Grow Up' from his recent 'Greatest Hits' followed after which Morrissey ranted at the burger stalls at the Festival. In Italy recently he refused to go on until a hot dog man was removed outside the venue. 'Irish Blood, English Heart' had a different arrangement. Next there was another rant, this time about Kylie's services to music. 'I Just Want to See the Boy Happy' had a fine trumpet solo, after which Morrisey introduced the band before launching into the early solo track, 'Sister, I'm a Poet'. After this the crowd went mad for 'Vicar in a Tutu' from 'The Queen is Dead'. "Have you had a reasonable day ?" he asked before adding very cheekily, "Where were you ? 'All You Need is Me' " and then playing the new track of the same name from the 'Greatest Hits'. He then performed 'The Loop' and 'The World is Full of Crashing Bores', the latter of which he told us us to sing along with him quickly because there was a strict curfew, 'Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself' had a fine squeezebox solo and he told us was written by Kylie. A new song then was aired, a rockabilly number entitled 'Mama Lay Softly on the River Bed' from his next album, 'Years of Refusal', which has been delayed until next year now. 'Billy Budd' was followed by a real live rarity, the Smiths' 'Death of a Disco Dancer' from their 'Strangeways, Here We Come' album, which, much heavier than the original, had a brilliant arrangement. Next up was a Buzzcocks cover, 'You Say You Don't Love Me', before he previewed a second new song, 'I'm Throwing My Arms around Paris'. 'Stretch Out and Wait', another Smiths classic, went down well, and was followed by a long and beautiful version of 'Life is a Pigsty', before 'How Soon is Now', a great Smiths song which even they never perfected live, closed the set. Then he was gone, before running back on with a mere one track encore, the Smiths, 'What She Said'. A great day all around. The photographs that commpany this article were taken by Andy Sturmey and originally appeared on www.virtualfestivals.com

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Morrissey - Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, 27/6/2008

Morrissey - Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, 27/6/2008

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