A review of Morrissey’s sold-out show/lovefest on Tuesday night, a concert that was short on hits and long on songs from his new album, “World Peace is None of Your Business.”
It was four songs into concert Tuesday night at Benaroya Hall before Morrissey spoke to the crowd. “It’s a great joy to be back in the city,” he said. It was odd phrasing, but much about Morrissey is odd, including what he said next: “And, that’s it.”
You expected him to say no more. His sold-out show was so anticipated that the crowd might have been satisfied with that, and, of course, with the songs he played.
He did speak again, but mostly he sang. Backed by a youthful five-piece band (“snatched from their mother’s arms,” he said), his 20-song set may have been short on hits, and long on his new album “World Peace is None of Your Business,” but it was energetic. He also played tracks from deep in his solo catalog, including “Alma Matters” and “Speedway.”
Morrissey hadn’t played Seattle for over two years, due to cancellations caused by illness, but his voice was strong Tuesday. He seemed excited to be here, and reached down and touched many of the raised hands.
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Though he only played a few Smiths songs, they were the best received with the exception of “Meat is Murder.” That played to a video of slaughterhouses, while Morrissey said “Auschwitz” was going on presently in Seattle. Many in the audience looked away, and some left.
Morrissey has always been unafraid to risk losing fans for his beliefs. Still, the slaughterhouse video probably shifted fewer in the audience than “The Queen is Dead.” For that, he threw his shirt into the audience and showed off his toned, vegan-fed torso.
Most Morrissey fans first fell for him in the ’80s when the hopelessly romantic music of the Smiths seemed a unique antidote to Europop and punk. On Tuesday, that uniqueness was ever on display.
“This next song we don’t play very often because nobody likes it,” he said. It was typical Morrissey: pretentious, controversial, precious, tragic. It was also wrong. The crowd loved “People Are the Same Everywhere,” as they did virtually everything else he played.
And, for once, that ardor seemed mutual. “I love you,” Morrissey said, as he left the stage.