Not many people would agree with most things that come out of Morrissey’s often controversial mouth, until he starts to sing that is; we’re then looking at a whole different kettle of fish.
Renowned for being a great songwriter of some thirty five+ years standing, Morrissey’s lyrics have resonated with a generation, and beyond. Seeing him in concert is always a joy; when he turns up, and isn’t campaigning about his vegetarianism or complaining either a lack of heating or actually about being there, of course.
But such trivialities aside, when he stands on stage to perform he doesn’t merely sing his songs, he gives a little of himself to them, and therein lies the magic.
I was lucky enough to be invited along to see Moz perform at arguably one of the most prestigious venues in London, the Palladium, on Saturday night. The grandeur of the venue added a different dimension to previous Morrissey gigs, which have mostly (for me) have been at the Brixton Academy. One of these occasions being the night of the last riots there, where disaffected youths were venting their collective spleens about the latest government outrage, of which there have been many. However I digress…
This gig was part of Morrissey’s first large UK tour since 2015 and has taken in Leeds, Dublin, Brighton, Aberdeen and Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and a few London dates at not only the Palladium but also Brixton Academy, the Royal Albert Hall and Alexandra Palace. Notably there have been no dates in his native north west of England; neither at Liverpool, or more notably at Manchester and one can’t help but wonder why this is.
Instead that great Northern town with so much to answer for, is being treated to a “Viva Morrissey” gig instead, the tribute band to The Smiths and Moz who have a gig on 9th June in which they celebrate thirty glorious years of Moz.
Predictably the set list included a number of songs off his latest album “Low in High School” released in October last year, as well as a disappointingly small amount of old favourites from his own back catalogue and of his former band, The Smiths. “How Soon is Now?” was a personal highlight as was his cover of old friend Chrissie Hynde’s band, The Pretenders “Back on the Chain Gang”.
For me, there was not enough of his extensive and varied back catalogue to keep the energy going. There were too many slower songs off the current album, which seemed to lose some of the momentum. Just as things seemed to be picking up towards the end, with “Last of the Famous International Playboys”, there was an expectant pause and then the house lights unceremoniously went up. There was quite a bit of stage invasion towards the end of the gig, and some kind of brouhaha towards the front which quite possibly contributed towards the abrupt ending. Who knows?
All in all a slightly disappointing gig for me, although there’s no disputing Moz has a loyal following and there’s a tangible bond between him and the audience which is a rare commodity. Viva Moz!