Morrissey Live – Liverpool Empire 10/05/2009

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“All You Need Is Me ” By Morrissey

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Morrissey has had many roles thrust upon him by the music press, by accident or indeed design,  the poet, the plagiarist, the lonely misunderstood genius,  the patriot, the racist,(sic)  even the soapstar ,  and now in the autumn of his musical career could it be that he is  entering what some would describe as  the “Vegas years ? ” I approached Morrissey’s Liverpool  gig with some trepidation, could he still “say something to me about my life”? There was also the matter of the venue, I mean Liverpool Empire looks about as comfortable at being a rock n roll venue as a Geography teacher “cutting some rug” at the sixth form discothèque! It’s far more Celine than Dion  and invariably generates all the atmosphere of  Moonbase Alpha.  Then of course there’s the great man himself , would time spent hanging out with celeb chums such as Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand have dulled his edge, can somebody enjoying the celebrity high life really have much reason to be so miserable and angst ridden?  Indeed is it not a little unedifying for a man  who will be 50 in a matter of days to still be so deeply troubled by such teenage insecurity and self doubt ? Surely he should  do  the sensible dignified  thing at his age,  buy a big flash car, wear a white suit and attempt some jiggery pokery with somebody 20 years younger ? Another thought that fleetingly danced across my consciousness was  maybe Mozza needed to venture beyond the perimeter of his walled châteaux and reconnect with real “kitchen sink” people once more?

It’s  difficult to ascertain if any, other than the crapness of the venue,  of these  vague concerns  were justified on tonight’s showing and to many in the audience   ( which  included a “British Sea Power” T-shirted Marc Riley, ex Everton hard man Barry Horne  and Liverpool midfield maestro Xabi Alonso ) it  mattered not  one jot as Morrissey certainly engenders a fierce loyalty in his fans which can  on occasion,  veer towards the “fruitcake” side of fandom .  In reality  it was a  solid set  rather than an inspirational one, never quite scaling  the dizzy heights, but circumstances  such as  illness  the fact that it was a Sunday and did I mention the venue was crap ,  really did play a part. “Such a wonderful building, but absolutely no atmosphere,” bemoaned Mozza ,  “How does the mayor cope?” Combining songs from  his new album “Years Of  Refusal” with Smiths classics such as “This Charming Man” “Ask” and “How Soon Is Now” Morrissey gave a  fairly flawless vocal performance, impressive, given that in between songs he made constant references to “antibiotics” and at the time of writing it transpires his Royal Albert Hall show has been cancelled ( 11/05/09) as doctors have advised him to rest.  That would certainly explain why he did seem a little out of sorts and gave a performance that was perfunctory more than passion fuelled.  But one could also argue that  the mix of material performed tonight did not,  happy bedfellows make . True, there are many who would argue deep into the night  with regard to what would make the prefect Morrissey set list,  but there’ s also a danger of songs falling flat on their arse when juxtaposing classics such as “Girlfriend In A Coma” next to the more oridnary tracks from some a Mozza’s recent solo efforts.

Morrissey is possibly ultimate pop stylist of his generation and at his best still produces flashes of  sardonic wit , tongue in cheek humour and still retains  an innate  flair for the melodramatic, but alas this show had a strangely flat ambiance and one felt he may have preferred to have been  tucked up in bed with a nice cup of  Horlicks, a few  paracetemol and  a Rita Tushingham DVD.  He does still have ability  to connect with the “misunderstood” , and judging by his audience  maybe there’s not that much difference between teen angst and mid life crisis these days, after all,  there’s little doubt the generation gap has  receded immeasurably  in the last 20 years.   As I left the venue  I noticed one Morrissey die hard had the word (and song title)  “Disappointed” tattooed across the back of his neck ….and maybe that kind of summed up the evening….. To quote the great man “All You Need Is Me” , well quite, but a decent venue  would also help too.

Verdict:  He’s still got it …it was good …..without ever really taking off

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Andy Von Pip

ANDY VON PIP - Founder, editor, writer, reviewer, photographer and all-round good guy at the VPME.com. House photographer for The Academy Music Group, Zuma Press, Event Magazine and Rex Features worldwide. You can check out his photography at Andy Von Pip Photography Has been new music tipster on BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio, and DJ on Strangeways Radio (USA.) Can currently be heard on IWFM Radio. His radio work has been described as sounding like Ian McCulloch on ketamine fused with Ringo Starr. New music tipster on Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson's Fresh on the Net, former member of "BBC's Sound Of" panel. Written and photographic work has appeared in The Quietus, Music Week, Record Of The Day, The Guardian, GIITV, The Sabotage Times, Bido Lito, The Skinny, Louder Than War. Media partner and curator for Liverpool Sound City.

Discussion

  1. Girl With The Thorn

    I went the venue really spoiled the occasion as did the overzealous security staff . Not a place for Rock Music as you say.

  2. I saw a Morrissey tribute act called confusingly Morrissey and they played at the Epsom Playhouse. The place was full of Mexican Rockabillys, Bikers and chicanas plus a sizeable hen party who were there for all the wrong reasons, thinking it to be a Neil Morrissey Full Monty Show.

  3. Chelsea Blagger

    It should be noted that the Liverpool Empire is celebrated for its seasonal pantomimes staring the likes of Billy Butler, Ray (Pixie face) Quinn and a number of ex-Brookside no marks.

    I can only assume that by booking Morrissey to perform at the Northwest’s premier panto venue his management are looking to secure him a lucrative post career contract as Mother Goose in order to challenge the Chuckle Brothers panto cartel?

    As VON PIP rightly states Morrissey himself did indeed comment to the audience about the lack of atmosphere on the evening. However, it was Morrissey’s promoters that booked the venue and his payroll that paid the security staff to keep us out of mischief!

    A RUSH AND A PUSH AND THE STAGE WAS OURS…. (Well maybe if there wasn’t an orchestra pit the size of the Grand Canyon).

    Venue aside it was still a great night, and I for one danced my legs down to the Knees, before returning to my bedroom in those ugly new houses (well the back bedroom actually as the wife doesn’t like me in drink, especially when I am in Morrissey is GOD mode).

    • Yes always good to see the great man, but the venue proved an obstacle too far. What we needed was Russ Abbot as the warm up to lend some “Atmosphere”.

      Your dancing was noted, I amongst others thought you resembled a constipated Herve Villachez attempting to hail “De plane” as an indulgent Mr Rourke looked on. Either that or a vengeful Gary Coleman apres a speedball cocktail. Either way you were the monkey to Morrissey’s organ grinder.

  4. not one of your less than clever words can compete with the worst moz lyric, performance or day. your reaching for low hanging fruit thats just not there, there is crtitism to go around on his current position, and you cant even convey that in a honest, witty, readable way. if you cant write better than that your trying to respectfully trash, read more books, listen to more music, and be quite.

    • *sigh* If only I had your eloquence…..
      Which day am I actually trying to compete with ? I certainly wouldn’t want to compete with Morrisseys lyricism in any shape or form, as for aimimg at low fruit, would that be bananas or something ? Or do you see me as some sort of midget version of William Tell ? And finally what exactly is your point ? Do you have one ? What seems to have gotten your goat here ? The fact that Mozza was unwell and was unable to give his best performance and that the venue (which is well known for being a bit crap for popular music gigs) had all the atmosphere of a morgue , which he indeed commented on? Pray tell ?

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