Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Concert Review: Morrissey. You're the one for us, fatty.

Festival Hall, Melbourne, Wednesday, December 19

Morrissey's first visit to Australia in a decade is much like being a Morrissey fan in the first place - it's about time.

Like all that time ago when a band with an ordinary name ruled the 80s with songs that resonated with ordinary people. Like the number of times you've listened and listened and listened to Speedway. That time you impressed a girl by playing her There is a light that never goes out. That time He pissed off the Royal Family.

After all that time, 10 years and 3 British Prime Ministers later, a jam-packed Festival Hall sat sweltering in the heat and wondering has time been kind to Morrissey?

In a solid, two-hour set, the melancholic Mancunian, chipper this night, and by reports, in general on this tour, answered with a resounding yes.

There he was whipping his mic cord by his side like a matador, tossing a sweat soaked shirt into the adoring mass of people and touching front row hands tenderly.

"I want to say how fantastic it is for me to be in this town. Thank you for turning up".

That voice? As good and powerful as it ever was.
That hair? Coifed and side burned as usual.
That body? Well, we should all look as trimmed and fit as him at 53.

As before on this tour, Morrissey and his band of misfits (musicians rescued "from the slums" of New York, Chicago, Mexico ad Columbia) opened with 1987's Shoplifters of the World Unite.

Again, that factor time.

Dipping indiscriminately into the canon - the band moved forward and back in time seamlessly -now from this Smiths album or the other; Now from 2006's Ringleader of the Tormenters; now from 1994's Vauxhaul and I.

There were political tones as one of the world's best known vegetarians belted out Meat is Murder over a red strobe and graphic images of battery hens and tortured cattle.

The vegans cheered. All those roasting turkeys for Christmas shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

Or maybe it was just the oppressive heat.

After a brief interlude for yet another shirt change Morrissey turned the mic over to random voices in the front row who used their big moment to declare....sob sob.... how much of an inspiration you are!!!

Another said: "I've been a vegetarian for seven years and a vegan for one, because of you"

Morrissey gave a little golf clap.

There was a trip back to the Smiths with Am I still ill? and Irish Blood, English Heart from 2004's You Are the Quarry.

After finishing the set proper on a Sweet and Tender note, Morrissey was back - wearing the English flag for a sarong for a one song encore - 2004's The First of the Gang to Die.

As he lamented poor old Hector, with that bullet in his gullet, two fans clambered on stage and threw their arms around the miserable man who gave them so much joy.

When a third tried, security yanked him away - but not before Morrissey could drape the flag over the poor fool's head.

Yes, he's the one for us, fatty. Always will be.

-Greg Barila