Tonight’s performance is the second of four Irish dates on Morrissey’s -Tour Of Refusal’, which surprisingly doesn’t include a stop-off in Dublin. Not that State is complaining, though. In fact, the change of scenery is quite welcome. The pleasant seafront promenades, the uniquely laid-back atmosphere and the noticeable absence of touts are some of the things here in Galway that the capital’s venues can’t compete with. The rain does add an air of familiarity, though, and threatens to ruin the hairdos of several bequiffed concertgoers as they file through the entrance.
Inside, support act Doll & the Kicks are attempting to entertain with their mix of indie-by-numbers and Top Shop couture, which draws polite applause but few – if any – new fans from the audience. As they depart the stage an almost palpable sense of expectancy descends, compounded by projected video images of vaudeville acts, Elvis and Morrissey’s old favourites the New York Dolls. Then the lights go out, the projections cease and the screen is whipped away to reveal Morrissey and his band taking their places on stage. ‘How are things in Connemara?’ he quips as his cohorts delve into a ballsy, almost punk rock rendition of -This Charming Man’.
He’s certainly started big and the trend continues, with -How Soon Is Now?’ finding it’s way into the set early on. Any fears that these songs are being thrown out as token crowd pleasers are soon put to rest for, while ol’ Mozzer has ditched a lot of his older solo material to make way for new songs, he has made ample room to include some tasty Smiths classics. And so -I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’, -When I Last Spoke to Carol’ and -Something is Squeezing My Skull’ nestle in comfortably alongside the likes of -Ask’, -Girlfriend In a Coma’ and -Some Girls are Bigger Than Others’.
‘Close your eyes and think of someone you physically admire”, Morrissey croons during -Let Me Kiss You’ and removes his shirt – much to the delight of the die-hards in the front row. -Irish Blood, English Heart’ gets an outing soon after, with the crowd straining their vocal chords to be heard as they sing along. There are raucous appeals for more after the group has disappeared backstage and they continue unabated until Morrissey returns for one more tune, which turns out to be an unforgettably magnificent version of -First of the Gang to Die’.
Calls for further encores fall on the proverbial deaf ear. In Morrissey’s world, it’s always better to leave the people wanting more than to have them grow tired of you. Some fans may beg to differ with that view but not one of them can honestly leave here tonight feeling disappointed; not when they’ve witnessed a performance full of passion, talent and good old-fashioned showmanship.
– April 29th 2009
Photo by Patrick Dinneen.