Morrissey is a tough guy to please. He changes managers and record labels like most people change their socks, cancels an absurd amount of concerts and hates so many things that the shows that do happen sometimes begin with Big Hard Excellent Fish’s 1990 track “The Imperfect List,” which is essentially a run-through of things that Morrissey despises. That includes “rednecks,” “the breakdown of the NHS,” “The Jimmy Swaggart Show,” “the all-American way,” “Nancy’s term,” “Ronnie’s term,” “fucking bastard Thatcher” and a “stinking rich female in furs.”
Us Morrissey fans happily put up with the guy, however, because of shows like his 2007 appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles has been a hotbed of Morrissey fanatics for decades, and they filled the huge amphitheater and went crazy the whole night as professional cameras were rolling. It was meant to come out as a DVD, but Morrissey threw one of his fits when Warner scheduled it for release.
“The slapdash release of Morrissey: Live at the Hollywood Bowl is done by Warner without any consultation to me whatsoever, and is in breach of their terms as laid out by themselves in an agreement made for the film between Warner and my ex-manager,” he wrote in an online message. “Being Warner, predictably the sleeve art is appalling. It is the work of cash-hounds, and I urge people NOT to buy it. I am not signed to Warner, and no royalties from this DVD will come to me. Please spend your money elsewhere.”
His reaction caused Warner to ultimately can the DVD, but footage did wind up online. He opened up with an absolutely ferocious rendition of “The Queen Is Dead,” which you can watch right here. Nothing beats the original by The Smiths, but this comes close. And since there’s a better chance of the original lineup of the Ramones coming back from the dead for a reunion tour than The Smiths even standing in the same room again, it’s as good as we’re gonna get.
Health issues caused Morrissey to postpone many planned shows over the past couple of years, but he has dates booked throughout Europe in March. Let’s all hope that he remains healthy and the shows happen.