Morrissey | SSE Hydro, Glasgow | star rating: ***
“Do you actually like Nicola Sturgeon?” Morrissey inquired during this performance.
Over a mix of cheers and boos he added, “Those hands would be in anyone’s pocket.”
Cue World Peace Is None Of Your Business with its repeated lyric, “Each time you vote you support the process.”
It was a typical moment of Moz protest, simultaneously heartfelt and glib. These days he tends to attract more attention for his, shall we say, divisive opinions than his music.
His recent album Low In High School was largely forgettable.
Fortunately, a few lulls aside, tonight he delivered a generous pairing of Smiths classics, namely I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish and a mesmerising version of How Soon Is Now replete with dramatically smashed gong climax, plus several highlights from his solo career.
His first and best post-Smiths singles, Suedehead and Everyday Is Like Sunday were rapturously received, the latter triggering the pleasingly incongruous spectacle of people dancing wildly to a song about boredom and alienation.
Harrowing video footage of animal cruelty and police brutality accompanied powerful readings of The Bullfighter Dies and Who Will Protect Us From The Police?. Cover versions of The Pretenders’ Back On The Chain Gang and Elvis obscurity You’ll Be Gone were unexpected treats.
His muscular band, featuring long-time collaborator Boz Boorer, are a tight, versatile unit. Morrissey was in tremendous voice throughout; his unique croon is still a very affecting instrument. No matter what he comes out with in interviews, his pop star charisma is practically bulletproof.