Before I venture to the Manchester Arena I stop off at my favourite pub on Oldham Street, Gulliver’s. I cannot be arsed paying a tenner for a couple of Fosters when I get to the venue, the worst fucking lager going. With a lovely San Miguel sat off in my belly, I smoke a few fags and ponder what scenes I’m going to see tonight. Will it be as magical as I hope? Probably not. Often arena gigs manage to kill any enjoyment for me, even if there are thousands of adoring fans creating an “electric atmosphere”.

It’s his first and only UK show of the year so I have high hopes, it’s my first time seeing the modern icon too. I’m really excited to see the enigmatic figure in the flesh as the Smiths are one of my favourite bands of all time. I mean, stating that in 2016 is like saying I breathe oxygen and own some skin but it’s true.

Starting with ‘Suedehead’ the hairs stand up all over my body. Why did I even try and pretend I wouldn’t get giddy like a little school girl tonight? It was gonna happen. Catching myself “whooping” at one stage, thankfully the over-exuberance simmers down as I remember why I am so lukewarm to Morrissey’s solo output. It just doesn’t have that charm every Smith’s song is soaked in. I feel myself slightly cringing as the half melted semi-god belts out ‘Istanbul’ and ‘The Bullfighter Dies’.

It’s around halfway now and Morrissey decides it’s a good idea to show images of Cows getting decapitated, sheep getting their throats slit and baby chicks getting ground into dust (during ‘Meat Is Murder’ of course). No one seems to care to be honest Moz mate. Everyone’s cheering at the message “What’s Your Excuse Now? Meat Is Murder” But I can’t help but think, “You gang of fucking liars, as if every single person in here now is veggie, most of you will be scranning cheeky kebabs later tonight!”

Despite this bizarre scenario of meat eaters basically being called scum by their own hero, I enjoy songs like ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ and ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ as the laughable author (‘List Of The Lost’ – 2015) farts out stuff like “Sportswomen don’t start wars… badgers don’t start wars… politicians start wars…. And they love it!” Stop Morrissey, we’ve heard this one before.

This review may be short but honestly there isn’t much more to say. I could comment on the crowd but really, only the front third of the standing contingent seemed to be enjoying themselves. The rest of us are doomed to the seating area, where the bald headed buffoons of Manchester’s winding roads sip their drinks with their darling wives and remember the times when they were at the front, throwing flowers at the childish king. Just a typical arena gig; vast, cold and disconnected.

Overall, the set is solid and I enjoy his band’s performance. But moments of being wowed or uplifted are few and far between. I don’t exactly know why but this gig hasn’t been what I hoped for. No rendition of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ either makes for an anti-climactic end, although he did play ‘What She Said’, which tickled my Smith’s fanboy testicles slightly.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC