Morrissey Wraps Up Broadway Residency to Acclaim

Morrissey Wraps Up Broadway Residency to Acclaim

The singer proved his voice remains untouched by time.

The singer proved his voice remains untouched by time.

Text: Greg Krelenstein

On Friday night at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in the heart of the theater district, fans lined up for blocks to see arguably Broadway’s biggest star of the week, Morrissey. When his residency was first announced, pegged to an upcoming covers album (California Sun) and leading up to a co-headlining tour with INTERPOL, it wasn’t clear whether or not we could expect the type of confessional singer-songwriter string of shows recently performed by another ‘80s icon, Bruce Springsteen. 

Instead, Morrissey treated his cult-like following (who are as fervent about their leader as any Little Monster) to a full set of non-stop hits and a few B-sides, which to any true Morrissey fan doesn’t really exist, because he’s part of the select group artists where every song is part of their canon. And though he had an opportunity to treat them to a more intimate breakdown of his dramatic pop-punk operas, he played as if he was pacing an arena stage- and that was just fine for an enraptured crowd, some of whom took the opportunity to rush the stage despite some irritated ushers in the aisles. At this stage in his career- 10 solo albums in, plus the legendary output of his former band, The Smiths- there are no casual Moz fans. 

The singer’s voice remains impeccable and untouched by time. He made the point of telling the crowd that he turns 50 next week and quoted the classic Smiths track, “Unhappy Birthday.”  Perhaps that’s because he’s actually on the eve of turning 60; but no matter, he appeared to actually enjoy the setting as he moved through standbys including “Suedehead,” “How Soon Is Now,” “Everyday is Like Sunday,” “Speedway,” and “Girl Afraid” into newer material, including “World Peace Is None of Your Business,” which has taken on new meaning in the context of the current political climate, and in the rare recent interviews where he’s spoken out on the subject.

Ever the OG punk provocateur, he placed the set in context with an opening montage paying tribute to other like-minded artists who have forged their own trailblazing journeys—David Bowie, Patti Smith, the Ramones—and Jobriath, an underground rock singer who was openly gay in the 1970s (Moz’s cover of “Morning Starship” is featured on his upcoming record). The Great White May, it turns out, is actually the perfect setting for the songs that save your life and serve as the soundtrack to his audience's personal melodramas for nearly three decades.

Credits: Image Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

UP NEXT

Helena Howard Hosts Helmut Lang Talkshow