Critic's Choice

It's not easy being a Morrissey fan. He's been without a label since shortly after his last proper album, 1997's Maladjusted, failed to impress record buyers, and a shakeup at Mercury records left him without a contract. So when he takes the stage at the Colorado Springs Music Hall on Thursday, August 29, and at the Fillmore Auditorium on Friday, August 30, take heart: If other performances during this tour are any indication, Morrissey will be serving his long-starved faithful with some deliciously fresh bon mots à la pop. Fans posting to the Web site have been generally enthusiastic about his new batch of songs. But to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies: Well, they would, wouldn't they? Still, with such wonderfully Morrisseyan titles as "The First of the Gang to Die" and "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores," our Dear Hero From England (late of Los Angeles) reminds us why pop music needs him so. The rest of the set list should be brief but rollicking, offering a good dose of 1988's Viva Hate, with a few notable nods to his days as a Smith. In particular, "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" has left attendees at earlier shows exiting the auditoriums with tearstained cheeks. But don't get the wrong impression: Morrissey shows aren't sob-sister affairs. The guy flounces with flair and generally engages his audience in a high-energy performance, supercharged by his longtime companions, a hard-driving quartet of becoiffed rockabilly rough trade. Following Friday's show, head to Brit-pop-loving Lipgloss (at 60 South on Broadway) to bask in the afterglow. You're going to want to make the moment last; you just never know when you'll hear from Morrissey again.


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