It happened.

Morrissey, who has become at least as well known for postponing and canceling gigs as he is for playing them, finally managed to take the stage in the Bay Area.

And you could feel the collective sigh of relief, as the fans who filled the City National Civic in San Jose on Wednesday night were able to stop worrying that Morrissey might once again disappoint them.

It took seeing it, however, to believe it. These folks had suffered through too many canceled shows. No wonder some fans spent the better part of Wednesday checking Twitter, Facebook and other sites for potential bad news.

Yet the modern-rock icon, who came to fame leading the Smiths in the 1980s, definitely wouldn't disappoint on this night. Instead, kicking off his rescheduled tour, he delivered a thrilling 90-minute set that illustrated exactly why he means so much to his fans. The show was filled with timeless tunes, spectacular musicianship and megawatt star power.

The one real downer to the evening wasn't really Morrissey's fault. It came during the encore when a few selfish fans spoiled things for the rest of us and stormed the stage, chasing Morrissey off midsong.

It's something of a tradition at a Morrissey show for fans to get up onstage and hug the entertainer. In fact, it had happened -- without incident -- earlier in Wednesday's show. But things got out hand during the encore and forced Morrissey to cut the show short.

It was an unfortunate, messy conclusion to what had otherwise been a superb evening. Morrissey sounded much stronger than the last time I saw him, back in 2007 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, and he was backed by an excellent five-piece band. He seemed in good spirits -- which, I realize, is an odd thing to say about this famously sad soul -- and even seemed to be enjoying his time onstage.

The fans certainly were digging it, eagerly devouring the tales of darkness and despair and Morrissey's trademark droll humor. Most probably would have enjoyed hearing a few more Smiths songs, of course, but the set list was otherwise solid.

Some of the strongest offerings came early on -- "That's How People Grow Up," "Ganglord" and especially "I Have Forgiven Jesus." He even previewed his forthcoming 10th studio album, "World Peace Is None of Your Business," performing a stellar version of the title track.

Morrissey was at his dramatic, theatrical best, crooning to the crowd like some matinee idol while making each and every song count. He wore his emotions on his sleeve on such tunes as "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday," inhabiting the lyrics as much as singing them. At times, it seemed like it was all too much for him to take -- as he fell to the floor or retreated to the back of the stage, turning his back to the crowd.

The two most powerful -- and powerfully depressing -- songs were "Life Is a Pigsty" and "Meat Is Murder." The latter, one of the top numbers from the Smiths' catalog, was accompanied by some gruesome videos of animal slaughterhouses and food processing plants. They were excruciating to watch, yet so important to see.

Then came the unfortunate encore. As the star crooned "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell," several fans jumped onstage and charged at Morrissey. Security did what it could, but there were simply too many to catch. Morrissey really had no other choice but to quickly exit the stage, cutting the show short by who knows how many minutes. It was a classless move. And it cost the rest of us. Thanks for that, "fans."

Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic and Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.