Morrissey's Sad Songs Fill The Electric Factory

Posted: September 22, 1997

The last time Morrissey showed up in Philadelphia with a band in tow was 1992 - a lifetime ago in the fast-paced, fickle world of alternative rock. At the Electric Factory on Friday night, it was as if The Boy With the Thorn in His Side never left.

The capacity crowd greeted the 38-year-old singer with screams, flowers, and British flags as he took the stage in a cloud of fog with a photo of two boys fighting as a backdrop. Looking more like a stylish professor in a simple white shirt and black pants, the Mozzer was bathed in a white spotlight, which he would gaze up at for effect.

He said very little but moved theatrically, whipping his microphone around or hurling bouquets of flowers back at the audience the way he used to with his old band, The Smiths.

Morrissey's mannered, almost operatic voice has grown over the years, and with it he's able to make sadness sound like the most glamorous, glorious thing. His longtime band - which included guitarists Martin Boorer and Alain White - are the perfect match for him. They kick against his preciousness on ``Alma Matters'' while making his bitter sentiments sound sweet on a song like ``Satan Rejected My Soul.''

While he stayed away from such obvious hits as ``Suedehead'' or ``Everyday Is Like Sunday,'' he surprised the crowd with an encore of The Smiths' misfit anthem, ``Shoplifters of the World Unite.'' Some male audience members took it literally and jumped onstage to get a piece of Morrissey before they were apprehended by security.

He ended the set after just under an hour, leaving the crowd as unsatisfied as Morrissey always seems to be.

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