Morrissey | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Morrissey is a damp Kleenex of a rock star, a full-time mope who complains far too much--even when he's not it seems like he's about to. He has a limpid smile and a flamboyantly indeterminate sexuality and sings in a melodramatic, lugubrious manner guaranteed to wear down the nerves of any sentient being in the area within half-a-dozen songs. So why's his show the concert event of the summer? Over the five years or so since the collapse of the Smiths, the former lead singer had pretty much laid low--until last year's casually released greatest-hits album, Bona Drag. Turned out old Morrissey (who, word was, would simply be lost without former songwriting partner Johnny Marr) has been releasing killer single ("Suedehead," "Interesting Drug") after killer single ("The Last of the Famous International Playboys," "Hairdresser on Fire"). His following in the U.S. is more cultist than in Britain, where he's almost a genuine superstar; but here as there, his live appearances tend to be dominated by malnourished-looking young men clutching bouquets of flowers. These almost Presley-an affairs are a sight to see, maybe even worth the trip out to the World. Early reports of the tour--his first U.S. concerts since the Smiths' swan song in 1986--include accounts of riotous fans, loopy covers, no oldies, and sometimes disappointingly short sets, so be prepared. Jewish-lesbian-swimmer-folksinger Phranc opens. Tuesday, 8 PM, World Music Theatre, Ridgeland and Flossmoor, Tinley Park. 559-1212 or 708-614-1616.

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