Updated: Tuesday, 21st November 2017 @ 8:07am

Gig review: Morrissey @ First Direct Arena, Leeds

Gig review: Morrissey @ First Direct Arena, Leeds

| By Andy Donley

Manchester legend Morrissey claimed he had ‘reached the age where making music is meant to be over’ back in October, but judging by Friday night's show in Leeds, he couldn't be more wrong.

After treating the crowd at the First Direct Arena to a half-an-hour long series of bizarre, slightly perturbing videos, the former Smith’s front-man finally took to the stage to prove to everyone that he is far from finished.

Mozza was on top form, both harmonically and politically, from his first swish of the microphone cable to his last.

His intro started with an elongated showing of a manipulated picture of the Queen showing her middles before a performance of the Smiths’ classic The Queen Is Dead.

It was a gig that ebbed and flowed, from the surging power of Irish Blood, English Heart and Everyday is like Sunday, to the lesser-known tracks of his 2013 album World Peace Is None Of Your Business - but the factors that remained the same were Morrissey’s charisma and his sessionists’ brilliance.

The crowd was evenly comprised of Smiths stalwarts and his solo faithful; so the biggest hits of the night were strangely split between Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before and his encore offering, First of the Gang To Die.

But regardless of allegiance, nobody could escape this legend’s political outcries.

“I cannot in my wildest dreams – and I have some pretty wild dreams – imagine anyone being interested or inspired by this upcoming election," he said.

“This country is screwed.”

This was followed by an impassioned delivery of his classic denunciation of our treatment of animals, Meat is Murder, accompanied by a video showing various scenes of horrific animal abuse, which carried on long after the song had finished.

Although this dampened the spirits of many in the crowd, they were soon on their feet once more, as the Mancunian delivered his fourth Smith’s offering, with What She Said proving an unexpected but rousingly popular choice.

There was a strong sense of disappointment when First of the Gang To Die proved to be the only encore song, but all-in-all the majority of the crowd left feeling particularly satisfied.

It’s impossible to watch Morrissey without asking yourself how much better it could be had his former band-mate, virtuoso guitarist Johnny Marr, been sharing the stage with him.

If only Morrissey and Marr could see the financial possibilities in a spectacular reunion. If only they’d never parted company in the first place.

Not that Morrissey on his own is anything less than great. He was everything you expect him to be. A charismatic performer, an opinionated Bigmouth, a legendary frontman.

Image courtesy of Warner Music Entertainment, with thanks.