MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 80 Minutes
• Five Live Performances from Move Festival, Manchester, 2004:
First Of The Gang To Die
I Have Forgiven Jesus
Every Day Is Like Sunday
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Irish Blood, English Heart
Music Videos:
Irish Blood, English Heart
First Of The Gang To Die (UK version)
First Of The Gang To Die (US version)
I Have Forgiven Jesus

The Pitch

Touring behind his latest album, You Are The Quarry, the Pope of Mope returned home to Manchester on his birthday for a live performance.

The Humans

Moz and the band, a few thousand fans.

The Nutshell

Maybe pop stars can go home again. The one time leader of the Smiths has in recent years called LA home, a strange choice for the saddest man in show biz – or maybe not; there’s an inherent loneliness that permeates that godforsaken town, a false chipperness that people bathed in endless sunshine must put on. But for this DVD he’s returned to Manchester, and the people were happy to have him back.

Morrissey is older than he was, obviously. And he’s thicker, too. But he’s dynamite onstage, and the hometown audience loves him. He rips through many new songs (thankfully his latest album is quite good, especially Irish Blood, English Heart, which I think you can hear on this DVD 14 times) and a bunch of old favorites, solo and Smiths-era. Personally I’m glad that he played two of my most beloved songs: Jack the Ripper and How Soon Is Now, reclaiming the last one from its current incarnation as teen movie track. Which is funny, because it’s like the ultimate song for a lonely 16 year old, and it was completely my song in high school.

It’s easy to forget that Morrissey’s songs are often really funny. His lyrics are biting and witty, and while his reputation as dour is not unearned, his performance style is energetic and friendly – he banters often with his devoted audience.

Moz tried and tried, but he didn’t have the power to resurrect Johnny Marr’s career. (As if he would want to)

The Package

If the concert itself isn’t enough for you, Who Put the M in Manchester? gives you plenty more to enjoy. There is footage from the 2004 Move Festival in Manchester, which is interesting because it has a completely different energy than the main feature. The Festival is one of those big, sweaty outdoor things, and where Moz indoors is maybe the suave guy, outdoors he’s got more swagger and sway.

There are also a bunch of music videos. I don’t think Morrissey’s had a really great video in years, but for the fan this stuff is indispensible. And when you’re buying a live DVD it’s nice to get some other stuff in sweet sounding surround. And the Dolby Digital 5.1 here does sound great (there’s DTS available as well, but I can’t tell you how that sounds, as my system doesn’t decode it).

The Lowdown

The thing about Who Put the M in Manchester is the same thing about almost any live performance DVD of a band who doesn’t put on some kind of Pink Floyd circa Wish You Were Here performance – there’s not a lot to look at. All the songs sound great, and so the DVD, with it’s superior sound quality, becomes a must-listen, but there’s not very much at all going on visually. The DVD ends up being worth owning because it is bookended with very enjoyable footage of Moz’s fans and his hometown, and because it sounds so great. Otherwise this is definitely a DVD you’re going to put on and then go do the dishes to.

There was always a moment of recovery after the Elton John duet.

8.5 out of 10