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Attack Films presents
Morrissey: Who Put the M in Manchester? (2005)

"I was a good kid, I wouldn't do you no harm."
- lyric from I Have Forgiven Jesus

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: June 10, 2005

Stars: Morrissey
Other Stars: Boz Boorer, Alain Whyte, Gary Day, Deano Butterworth, Mikey V. Farrell
Director: Bucky Fukumoto

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:38m:55s
Release Date: March 29, 2005
UPC: 060768840492
Genre: alternative

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A+A-A- A-

DVD Review

One of the great voices for all of us self-centered, angry, and alienated types from the early 1980s, ex-Smiths frontman Morrissey has weathered the ravages of time, avoiding the need to reinvent himself by rolling out his familiar one-part crooner/one-part rock star persona as the new father figure of "it's all about me" music.

Long gone are the Smiths, but in its place has remained that wonderful voice of Morrissey's, and this live concert from Attack Films was recorded in Manchester in May 2004 on Morrissey's birthday, and combines new material as well as some classic nuggets from the past. An audio CD entitled Live at Earls Court, recorded a few months after the concert on this DVD, was also released independently by Attack, and the two recordings feature a rich and varied set list of live Morrissey music that almost seem like they should have been packaged together.

With Who Put The M in Manchester?, Morrissey seems back on top of the game, even after all these years, and new material like Irish Blood, English Heart or I Have Forgiven Jesus play as strongly next to "classic" pieces like Everyday Is Like Sunday that it almost seems like he has never been away. The ironic comedy of his opening with a bit of My Way is a subtle in-joke, reinforcing the Viva Hate-era vibe of Smiths music. His voice resonates with the same kind of a lazy alt-whine urgency that once made the Smiths such an identifiable force, and when he sings of the "mystical timezone" in A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours, it all seems very plausible that Morrissey has found the secret ability to actually remain unchanged by time.

Here's a guy who is one of the genuine articles of the alt-world of the early 1980s, a moody neo-Sinatra for the post-punk generation, who has diligently refrained from artistic compromise, all the while keeping his Godhead status amongst the faithful. It is reassuring and somehow appealing to see that Morrissey can age gracefully without sacrificing the bite or sting of his performances (the Manchester crowd is in his palm from the opening song), and it serves as a sliver of hope that maybe it's possible for the rest of us to keep a fraction of that same edgy cool that he swaggers with.

Set List:
First of the Gang to Die
Hairdresser on Fire
Irish Blood, English Heart
The Headmaster Ritual
Subway Train/Everyday Is Like Sunday
I Have Forgiven Jesus
I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
Rubber Ring
Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference
Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice
The World Is Full of Crashing Bores
Let Me Kiss You
No One Can Hold a Candle to You
Jack the Ripper
A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
I'm Not Sorry
Shoplifters of the World Unite
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: A great job from Attack on the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer here, with none of the usual lighting problems (smearing or trailing) to potentially mar what ends up being a crisp, well-detailed image; the bursts of color are rich and bright, as with his crimson shirt worn during the encore, and the band, who spend most of their time dimly lit, are clear and visible.


Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The big guns here are audio mixes in DTS and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. You can't go wrong with either, but the DTS does seem to deliver a deeper, cleaner bottom end, though both slide audience sounds up out of the rear channels to recreate that live feel. The front channels deliver a noticeable movement, with a pronounced separation that gives the performance a wider footing. A 2.0 stereo track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 21 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
4 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Thinpak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras kick off with a set of bonus footage, made up of five live performances from the Move Festival (20m:04s), recorded in Manchester 2004. The songs, performed outdoors in fading daylight, consist of spirited renditions of First of the Gang to Die, I Have Forgiven Jesus, Everyday Is Like Sunday, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out and Irish Blood, English Heart.

Also included are a collection of four promotional music videos Irish Blood, English Heart, First of the Gang to Die (one US promo, one UK) and I Have Forgiven Jesus. The differences between the two First of the Gang to Die clips is that the US version features additional intercut footage of concert-going fans, while the UK version is just live concert footage.

Last is Meet Your Meat (12m:45s), a PETA film narrated by Alec Baldwin. Definitely not for the squeamish, it is understandly graphic, but not at all surprising considering the Smiths once released an album called Meat Is Murder.

Extras Grade: A-


Final Comments

Is it possible he's not just older, but better? I command you to kneel at the altar of Morrissey.

Highly recommended, and for me, one of the year's best releases.


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