Hip Hip, Hooray for Morrissey!

The Joint in Hard Rock Hotel, Jan. 2

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

As we said a few weeks ago, Morrissey loves Las Vegas, and we predicted that he would show up this time, despite canceling his previous three engagements. Spoiler alert: We were right. And with the exception of a 30-minute music video reel that served as his opening act (nice one, Moz), the show was just him, in all his shirt-throwing glory—surrounded by his well-oiled machine of a band and some blinding lights to add gravitas to a performance that leaned heavily on theatrics.

Here were the burning questions: Would the English singer/songwriter make up for the cancellations? And could he possibly—due to ill health and circulating rumors about his retirement—give a wooing performance that could very well be his last Vegas performance ever? He did, and in typical Morrissey fashion, he did it with style and grace. He was classic, handsome Moz—clad in a bright blue button-up shirt, blazer and dark jeans. His signature burly baritone was rich, robust and radiant—like a good piece of dark chocolate. He kept physical showmanship to a minimum, occasionally cracking his microphone cable like a whip during the authority-dismissing title track of his latest release, World Peace is None of Your Business. And the setlist was wide-ranging, spanning his entire career. He hit everything from his days as the frontman of The Smiths (“What She Said”), his early days as solo artist (“Suedehead”) and beyond.

His band played as tight and as sharp as the white shirts and suspenders they all wore. Moz’ right-hand man, Boz Boorer, appeared as a stocky version of Joe Strummer, and he strummed his arsenal of guitars with an elegant airiness. Keyboard/percussion player Gustavo Manzur represented the large Latino segment of the crowd, singing the last lines of “Speedway” in Spanish, but the focus remained on Morrissey and the supplemental videos that served as his backdrops. During the vegan/vegetarian anthem, “Meat is Murder,” Moz continually gestured at the slaughterhouse videos playing behind him, and his qualms against law enforcement in “Ganglord” were backed by a montage of police brutality videos.

In all, it was a stimulating treat of a set that would satisfy old fans, newcomers and fanatics alike. We felt opposite of what Moz says in “Everyday is like Sunday”: Come armageddon, come armageddon! We hope that day never comes for him and for us, so we can continue to enjoy wonderful performances like these. ★★★★✩

Photos by Krystal Ramirez

Alma Matters
Staircase At the University
Action is My Middle Name
Kiss Me A Lot
World Peace is None of Your Business
Mama Lay Softly On the Riverbed
You’ll Be Gone (Elvis Presley cover)
Reader Meet Author
Everyday is Like Sunday
Oboe Concerto
Jack the Ripper
The Bullfighter Dies
The World is Full of Crashing Bores
All the Lazy Dykes
I Will See You in Far-Off Places
What She Said (The Smiths cover)
Meat is Murder (The Smiths cover)
You Have Killed Me
Let Me Kiss You
The Queen is Dead (The Smiths cover)