Perhaps it was our current spell of fine weather, or maybe it was good ol' Kiwi hospitality, but characteristically miserable indie singer Morrissey was in a decidedly chipper mood at his Auckland show on Saturday.
The former Smiths frontman seemed relaxed and chuffed with his week here, telling the audience at Vector Arena he'd had a "very nice crowd in Wellington as well".
But it wouldn't be a Morrissey show without a dose of melodrama and political posturing, and as soon as the lights went down a recorded voice spat angry words at the crowd: "Macho dickheads", "Stock Aitken Waterman", "royal family" ... for several minutes, until the singer walked on to the stage. In a nice touch his five bandmates sported All Blacks jerseys, and in a further nod to New Zealand the drumkit was emblazoned with silver ferns.
First up was Shoplifters of the World Unite, confirming Smiths' songs were definitely on the set-list and that Morrissey's voice was right on song. Highlights included crowd sing-alongs to You're the One For Me, Fatty, Everyday is Like Sunday, Still Ill and Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. A few a cappella lines from Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now sounded fantastic but were just a crowd-teaser.
A cover of Frankie Valli's To Give (The Reason I Live) fell flat, which Morrissey acknowledged: "Did anyone like that? No? Neither did I", and lesser known tracks such as Speedway and Black Cloud were a little underwhelming. During Meat is Murder the singer curled into a foetal position with his back to the crowd and let footage of animal cruelty do the talking.
In between flamboyantly flinging the microphone cord around like a whip and ruffling his quiff, the 53-year-old reached out and touched fans and accepted small gifts. Two of his shirts disappeared into the crowd, the second thrown after an excellent single-song encore of the Smiths' How Soon is Now, along with the NZ flag he'd worn around his waist like a sarong for most of the song. There was little to feel miserable about.
Where and when: Vector Arena, Saturday