Live Review: Morrissey- Cardiff

Morrissey

morrisseyCardiff Motorpoint Arena,Β  18th March 2015

Words: James Gallagher

With a rush and a pull, droves of people descended upon Cardiff but on closer inspection, it would seem that a fair proportion knew little about and had less affection for the man they came to see.

A well known car insurance company based in Cardiff had given out free tickets to their call centre staff, as is their way, and thus adding to the general apathetic confusion amongst the masses. The sentence “I don’t know his solo stuff, I am here for The Smiths songs”, became irritatingly familiar as the week and then the evening went along.

Morrissey is no longer in The Smiths for those of you who may need clarification, just in case you planned on parting with your money for 3 songs.

Instead Morrissey has enjoyed a fine solo career spanning several classic albums, not least his latest World Peace Is None Of Your Business. It was, however a Smiths song that would signal the start of a fine performance. The Queen Is Dead pounced upon us with energetic regality as the sawing guitar from Boorer’s and Tobias’ guitars scythed through Mozza’s equally sharp lyrics.

The head scratching in the soulless Cardiff vacuum began straight after The Smiths classic rolled into the early nineties anthem of Suedehead. Looks of ignorant suspicion stared upon those in the audience who sang along and beamed with excitement for the music. This would feature throughout the whole show.

The band behind Morrissey clearly put his mind at ease in comparison to those of years gone by. They are a visibly close unit which is mirrored in the music, especially when live. Morrissey was quite jovial in Cardiff. You can make your own aspersions as to whether that is uncharacteristic or not, I guess we will never know and that even applies to the NME.

The setlist was predictably similar to that of his European tour last Autumn bar a few chops and changes. As Morrissey fans will have grown accustomed to, his latest and current material takes priority for him. That is perfectly justified however it can tend to alienate the fence sitters into a state of quarantine as they restlessly look around hoping for the intro of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out that never came.

Staircase At The University is a surefire future favourite displaying Morrissey’s trademark tongue in cheek, demure humour. Kiss Me A Lot is as strong a single as he has ever penned and Istanbul floats the romantic questions of inclination beautifully.

After Throwing My Arms Around Paris, it was with some surprise that Stop Me If You Think That You Have Heard This One Before from 1987’s Strangeways Here We Come would help the temporary break up of the flow of his new album. The real fans were in raptures for it. This was magnified further when the blisteringly bleak Speedway reminded us of how good his solo career had been. 1994’s Vauxhall & I surely setting the mark to measure all else against.

Following his statement last autumn, it was noticeable how strong Morrissey’s voice was. One may have presumed that following treatment for throat cancer, his voice would have significantly weakened. It had not, if anything his range and resonance had improved.

Nobody in the ‘Convention Centre’; usually reserved for tattoo conventions and snooker tournaments, was listening to his voice when the sounds of the abattoir brought in the unapologetic Meat Is Murder. The horrific visions of the abattoir were projected above the stage for all to see as Morrissey forced his will in admirably shameless theatre.

Unfortunately the huge hollow shell was incapable of transcending the genius of Everyday Is Like Sunday and What She Said (Rubber Ring Medley) as one would have liked but the sing along was loud and full hearted. There was still time enough for First Of The Gang To Die to appear as an encore. The fans stayed to the last second to see their hero as the rest filtered out to beat the traffic and queues into the Welsh capitals melee of indifference.

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