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Morrissey’s Big Mouth Strikes Again

Brit rock’s most angsty elder statesman Morrissey sweated andswayed through a diverse set spanning both his solo career and Smithshighlights at the Hammerstein Ballroom last night (Oct. 22), the firstof his five-date engagement in the Big Apple. The motley crowd (asheterogeneous as the setlist, running the gamut from graying Smithsdevotees to the young and gothic) was warmed up by the wails of Moz’shand-picked operatic opener Kristeen Young, channeling a more agro KateBush. When he finally strutted out on to stage, Morrissey quipped,”Welcome to Madison Square,” by way of apology for tour dates hecanceled there over the summer due to illness.

Though heopened with the Smiths cocky classic “Stop Me If You Think You’ve HeardThis One Before,” no one dared take the song’s suggestion, even as heflew through recognizable favorites like “Sister, I’m a Poet” and amoody version of “Death of a Disco Dancer,” the stage dappled inshadows. Ever outspoken, Morrissey peppered his patter between songswith messages both social (the noted vegetarian calling for the end of”the McDonald’s Empire”) and political (endorsing Barack Obama, and his”nice teeth”), though some of the rowdier audience members in thebalcony seemed more concerned with his physique than his politics,shouting repeatedly “Take it off!” The crowd got their wish during “HowSoon is Now,” when Moz ripped his (second) drenched shirt off and flungit to fans in the front, before reappearing in a black tee emblazoned”Je suis Morrissey” for his encore, a high-spirited version of “Last ofthe Gang to Die,” embellished by Michael Farrell’s trumpet. Perhaps theback of Moz’s tee says it best: “It’s Morrissey’s town, we just live init.”

We asked:The last few years have brought about some memorable Morrissey covers,both on albums and in concert, by artists like Colin Meloy, theLibertines, the Killers, and My Chemical Romance. Which artist or groupwould you most like to hear cover Morrissey, and which song would yourequest?