Morrissey Plays Intimate, Last-Minute L.A. Show

Singer showcases new songs, Smiths tracks and good spirits

November 25, 2011 2:40 PM ET
morrissey august london
Morrissey performs this past summer in London.
Marc Broussely/Redferns

As part of his current U.S. tour, Morrissey played a last-minute show at L.A.'s Henry Fonda Theater on November 23rd. With a capacity just under a thousand people, the venue offered a rare chance to see his Mozness in an intimate setting – and the excitement was evident, as several onlookers  on famed Hollywood Blvd. stopped to snap photos of Morrissey's name on the marquee upon entering the packed club.

Morrissey himself seemed to feel the enthusiasm, coming out on stage at 9:01 and saying, "Stuff me, stuff me, stuff me," to lead into a rambunctious rendition of the Smiths' "I Want The One That I Can't Have." Backed by a tight five-piece band, all clad in black t-shirts that said, "Fuck fur," Morrissey started off a house of fire, with excellent versions of such songs as "You Have Killed Me" and "You're The One For Me, Fatty." And in between those early songs he acknowledged the uniqueness of the setting, welcoming the crowd.

His good spirits continued throughout the 75-minute set. Following a stellar "Action Is My Middle Name," a previously unreleased track unveiled earlier this year as part of the "Glamorous Glue" single to celebrate the Very Best Of Morrissey release, he introduced the band by saying, "I've been advised to tell you there are some very shady characters in the crowd."

The set list reflected those spirits, jumping all over from the Smiths' "Still Ill," a superb encore choice, and a nice cover of Lou Reed's "Satellite Of Love" to new songs – the atmospheric "Scandinavia" and the pop-rock "People Are The Same Everywhere," a song whose guitars and hook can almost be heard growling, in vintage Morrissey form.

The response to the new material online has been strong, and after the preview he showed Wednesday night it's easy to see why. His edge is still razor-sharp, and seems to be getting harder. This is, after all, a guy who introduced the Smiths' "Meat Is Murder" the other night by referencing Thanksgiving the next day as "Thankskilling."

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