Morrissey at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA

Arguably the greatest lyricist of this generation, Morrissey landed at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA in support of California Son, his new album of covers. The iconic and recently controversial front-man presented a straightforward but rousing show that rewarded fans with rarely performed songs and his glorious baritone.

Far from an aging rocker, Steven Patrick Morrissey has actually improved over time—his voice and performance have both grown stronger with age. Now gray-haired and looking dapper in a white shirt and blue vest, he paced the stage, occasionally taking the time to shake hands with his adoring fans.

Although he seemed to replace conversation with music, Morrissey’s signature wit was evident throughout the evening, notably displaying a bag of Lay’s Potato chips as he exclaimed, “It was a good lay,” as he opened his set with his classic hit “Suedehead” from his first solo album.

Songs by The Smiths, Morrissey’s famously poetic former band, were in short supply,

Morrissey turned in a spirited performance that focused on material from his early solo albums, and several from this year’s California Son.

After a sassy cover of “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, Morrissey presented a stirring and memorable performance of “Jack the Ripper,” a rarely performed number from his World of Morrissey compilation. Morrissey slowly tugging off his jacket in billowing fog, created a perfectly appropriate and eerie atmosphere for the dark track, which, in typical Morrissey fashion, can be interpreted in a number of ways without context—proof of the lyrical genius that is Morrissey.

In fine form and with an excellent voice, Morrissey dramatically captivated the crowd throughout the evening, whipping his microphone cord to punctuate movements and crooning dramatically when appropriate. As the show neared its end, the icon proudly and elegantly ripped off his white shirt, revealing his pale, 60-year-old torso for his fans. Morrissey is every bit the performer he was destined to be.

Photos by Kevin Estrada