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Morrissey - Live at Earls Court Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 March 2005


Live at Earls Court
format: 16-Bit Stereo CD
label: Attack/Sanctuary Records
release year: 2005
performance: 9
sound 9
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

Image There’s nothing better than releasing a live CD when an artist is on top. And Morrissey -- all these years after the demise of the beloved Smiths -- has never been hotter. In the past, The Moz has sometimes been supported by a live band of faux rockabilly cats, which never did the wide spectrum of his music much justice. Sure, he’s had his share of rockabilly moments over the years. But the man’s influences include everything from cinematic Bowie-isms to crunchy T-Rex glam rock, in addition to Elvis. Thankfully, this CD captures Morrissey’s best touring band in years, and makes it an essential document for any self-respecting Morrissey fan.
Live at Earls Court opens on a ballsy note with the playing of “How Soon Is Now?” You don’t have to be a Smiths-head to realize that this Bo Diddley beat, feedback-drenched track has Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr’s callused fingerprints all over it. Nevertheless, he still pulls it off grandly. And if you’re just looking for vintage Smiths songs, you won’t be let down by this project. Also included within are “Shoplifters of the World,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and, of course, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.” Morrissey mostly stays true to the arrangements and lyrics of these older songs, although keen ears will pick up how an “iPod” has since replaced the “Walkman” in “Bigmouth.”

Morrissey, ever the restless one, continues to throw a lot of new material into his concerts. Some of this new stuff is captured here. Non-album tracks are represented by “Friday Mourning,” “Munich Air Disaster 1958” and “Don’t Make Fun of Daddy’s Voice.” There are also a few familiar songs from Morrissey’s back catalogue, such as “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.” Additionally, there is one cover included, “Redondo Beach,” which was originally recorded by Patti Smith, one of Morrissey’s heroes.

The performer also shows much confidence his new material by performing numerous songs from the recent, and acclaimed, “You Are The Quarry” CD. The best of these are the singles “First of the Gang to Die,” “Irish Blood, English Heart,” and “I’ve Forgiven Jesus.”

It’s hard to figure out why Morrissey is suddenly so popular now, especially since the charts are filled with nameless hip-hop and equally nameless hard rock acts. Yet this oddball Brit is selling CDs by the truckload. Go figure. And since Morrissey has been saying cryptic things, such as “Don’t forget me,” at the ends of his shows, one wonders how much longer this depressed one will continue to tour. But such unsettling speculation, in addition to all its great music, makes this live release all the more valuable.

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