Publicly admitting a fondness for Morrissey sometimes seems like inviting derision, but after seeing him play in Waukegan, Illinois the other night, I've gotta say it out loud: The Moz still has it. (Admitting affection for The Smiths, on the other hand, is applauded loudly–a bit strange. And when are they going to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, anyway?)

But I digress: Like most, I've had a declining interest in Morrissey's solo records. Last year's Ringleader Of The Tormentors has some truly excellent moments, and the songs he plays from it live generally benefit from the energy, but they don't touch his best. (It's easy to make the argument that they're very much worth hearing, though.) Lately he's been embracing more and more older material, and in Waukegan, he dug down deep into The Smiths' catalog and pulled out some surprises from his solo days, too.

The first eight songs included three Smiths' classics ("Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before," "London," "Stretch Out And Wait") and three unexpected solo songs (lost single "Tomorrow," plus killer B-sides "The Loop" and "Jack The Ripper"), each delivered with cheeky passion and tongue-in-cheek, despite the fact that the house was half full. ("It's wet, Wednesday, and Waukegan," he declared at the beginning of the show.)

Even the brand-new, yet-to-be-recorded songs sounded great: Morrissey and his band, on tour for the last year, pack a punch they never have before. If I were Morrissey, I'd implore lapsed fans to take action, but instead I'll just suggest it: If you're on the East Coast, he's headed your way. You might fall in love all over again.