“Morrissey, Morrissey. Morrissey,” the crowd at Liverpool’s Echo Arena chanted. These chants weren’t from the usual pre-show anticipation or from the expectation of an encore. These chants were begging the former-Smiths frontman to finish his set.
On this day in 2009, the “Speedway” artist ended his arena show one-and-a-half songs in, after taking what many claimed to be a beer bottle to the face. Only minutes before, the Mirror reported, Morrissey greeted the crowd with matched excitement, saying, “It’s Saturday. It’s Liverpool. It’s raining. It’s perfect.” He then kicked off the night with the Smiths’ classic “This Charming Man.”
Midway through the next song in the set, a plastic projectile came hurling at the then-50-year-old singer from somewhere in the audience. The object reportedly hit him in the eye while he was positioned front-center stage. Morrissey immediately halted the show, said “goodnight,” and exited the stage. The crowd of an estimated 8,000 were left to chant his name.
The symphony of “Morrisseys” bellowing from fans soon became a cacophony of “boos.” An announcement came over the Echo Arena, alerting the crowd that the man they came to see would not be returning to finish the show.
“Everyone just turned to each other in disbelief. At £35 to £45 a ticket, all we got was one song and a half,” one attendee, Polly Wilson, told The Guardian.
“If there’s ever a singer who would not take kindly to a bottle being thrown at him, it’s Morrissey,” concert-goer Jay Silker told the Mirror. Fan Iain Kavanagh explained to the outlet: “Some people were complaining afterwards because he’s been in the game for years and he should be used to it by now. But he’s a 50-year-old man who has just been ill and he deserves better than that.”
Weeks before the incident, Morrissey collapsed onstage from difficulty breathing and had to be hospitalized overnight with respiratory concerns. The Liverpool concert was one of his first on-stage appearances after the wake of illness-induced show cancellations.
The bottle debacle was captured in the video, below.
(Photo credit: Jim Dyson)