Morrissey Reopens Manchester G-Mex

Manchester G-Mex will stage its first concerts in nearly a decade when Morrissey closes his U.K. arena tour there December 22-23.

Rob Ballantine of SJM Concerts, which will act as the venue’s concert consultant in the same way as it does at City Of Manchester Stadium and Lancashire Cricket Ground, said the company will run a series of special shows in December but said SJM isn’t planning to stage live shows at the 10,000-capacity room on a year-round basis.

Describing G-Mex as “an iconic venue,” he said SJM wants to ensure that it remains special to the bands and Manchester’s music fans.

After the December shows, SJM will announce some of the scheduling for 2007, with the emphasis on making each gig a special event.

The Morrissey shows will be the first the venue has hosted since Oasis played two now-legendary nights there in 1997.

It was built as a rail terminus in 1876 and, operating under the name of Central Station, served the city for almost a century.

It reopened as an exhibition and events center in 1986, staging its first show when The Smiths and New Order headlined the Festival of the Tenth Summer. Two decades later, Morrissey is returning solo for the reopening.

For a decade, it played an important role in the Manchester live music scene, featuring gigs from Happy Mondays, New Order, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, Take That, U2, Prince, and Pavarotti.

After some major refurbishment, it concentrated on its exhibitions and a mixture of business and leisure activities. But now the city council feels the venue can be re-branded and attract a wider public.

The other Morrissey shows are at Glasgow SECC, Newcastle Arena, Nottingham Arena, Birmingham NIA and London’s Wembley Arena December 2-8.

– John Gammon