“I may grow older, but I will never cave in” – Morrissey said it at the end of this gig, the performance proved it.
Undoubtedly a voice of a generation, a cultural icon – but all eventually fade to hollow platitudes unless you deliver on it.
Morrissey did. His voice soared, his band roared and the former The Smiths front-man proved he remains a relevant and vital voice.
He opened with tracks from recent album Low In High School, with I Wish You Lonely an early highlight.
Throughout that song a grainy photo was projected on to a back-screen of Margaret Thatcher walking amid a desolate housing estate wasteland with a horse-mounted policeman ready to land a baton on her.
That image is a perfect summation of the alienation, desolation and hopelessness of eighties Britain which spawned The Smiths.
More than three decades since their split this is still central to Morrissey’s music.
In Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage, Morrissey sings “this country is making me sick”.
Videos of police violence accompanied Who Will Protect Us From The Police, while brutal Morrisseyfootage of bull-fighting was projected throughout The Bullfighter Dies.
Morrissey banned the sale of meat products at the gig so there were no burger stalls.
On entering the venue, various animal rights leaflets from organisations such as PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) were handed out.
Many fans were turned to vegetarianism by 1985’s Meat is Murder, my teenage self included.
“I’m delighted to be here … but all that could change” Morrissey said deadpan before launching into I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish from Strangeways Here We Come.
It was the first of only a handful of The Smiths songs.
Somehow the immense vibrato of Johnny Marr’s guitar on How Soon is Now was recreated perfectly.
Debut solo single Suedehead was a soaring, euphoric release.
Morrissey returned for an encore of Everyday Is Like Sunday and Irish Blood, English Heart.
Then he ripped his shirt off and was gone.