Concert Reviews

Last Night: Morrissey at the Palladium Ballroom

Palladium Ballroom
Friday, April 10, 2009

Better Than: Watching 24 Hour Party People that you have recorded on your DVR.

Check out more photos in our slideshow.

The crowd that showed up for Morrissey last night at the Palladium served as a tribute to the longevity of the man's career.

People from every age and walk of life were in the audience to pay the proper respect to the Pope of Mope.

And when the graying icon strolled onto the stage--very quickly after the opening band's set; maybe just fifteen minutes after--there wasn't anyone in the building not giving him the ovation he's come to deserve.

As for Morrissey himself? Having long since traded in his jeans and t-shirt for Oxford shirts and suit jackets he looked like he could fit into any hipper-than-thou bar in Uptown.

His set, meanwhile, started out very Smiths-heavy, and "This Charming Man" was a great way for him to open the show. But, a mere four songs into his set Moz pulled out what is usually a show stopper--the Smiths' classic "How Soon Is Now?"--and camera phones lit up the crowd as audience members were either calling their friends, recording video or taking pictures.

It was an exhilirating moment, directly followed up by "Irish Blood, English Heart." An interesting couplet of song selections to say the least, as if Moz were telling the audience, "This is what got me there" with former, and "This is how I got back" with the latter.

But the night was less than perfect.

As Morrissey sprinkled in songs from his full catalog of both Smiths material and solo takes, it seemed, for the most part, like he was going through the performing motions.Sure, Morrissey himself was entertaining, but it didn't seem like he really cared to put on a spectacular show. Yes, the man knows how to work a crowd--but even when he shook hands with audience members it seemed as if it wasn't because he wanted to, but because he was expected to.

Still, it was a compelling performance--and most interesting when Moz would drop the crooner shtick for his full-on rockabilly shtick. While he is indeed one of the better crooning singers out there, the energy of his rockabilly songs are some of the best songs in his solo catalogue; those songs brought an energy to the show that was missing when he wasn't singing Smiths songs.

But that seemed to be the only damper on the whole evening. For the most part, the song selection was top-notch.

Critic's Notebook
By The Way:
The opening band, The Courteeners, weren't bad. But they definitely did not have a sound you would expect from a Manchester band. Live, they seemed to have a very American influence in their sound. The jangly guitar sounds were substituted with crunchy pop-punk guitars.

Personal Bias: This is the second time I've seen Morrissey, and I didn't think it was a great as the first and last time I saw him. When I first saw him, I was in awe that I was standing in front of such a legendary performer. This time, the show didn't have the same effect.

Random Note: I saw Denton singer-songwriter Robert Gomez before the show.

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Lance Lester