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Morrissey / KristeenYoung (The London Palladium), Sunday 28th May, 2006.

 

ImageIt seems that Moz fans come in all shapes and sizes these days - middle aged men with quiffs, grannies in Ringleader Of the Tormentors t-shirts, young men with black rimmed glasses - there was even a bloke in a Santana t-shirt. And then there were us, me a big Moz fan, Mrs. Keith who is partial to a bit of the Smiths, but hardly fanatical and my 7yr old who thinks that The First Of The Gang To Die is probably the best record ever - along with the T.Rex smash, The Children Of The Revolution! Did I mention that he was brainwashed?

 

Anyway, this was an excellent gig, and not just because of the great atmosphere. There was a real sense of occasion with this being the last UK date and it taking place at the famous London Palladium - on a Sunday night of course! Indeed Morrissey, resplendent in dinner suit and dickie, was in fine voice and the band were superb from the opening rabble rousing Panic onwards.

 

The bulk of the set was taken from the Ringleader... LP though, which was fine with me as it's an album that I have really grown to love these past few weeks (this may explain why I enjoyed this concert more than the recent Llandudno one when I was barely familiar with it though). The highpoint of the new material though was the albums opening track I Will See You In Far-off Places, as it manages to sound both grandiose and thrilling. And there were lots of nice little moments - Morrissey amending the words on the recent You Have Killed Me 45 to include his producer Tony Visconti, and then getting the band to come centre stage one by one and introduce themselves ("I'm Boz and I play the guitar" etc) whilst their leader sat in the corner and grinned before returning to the mic and cheekily adding 'that was painful'. If I was being hyper-critical then I could say that the trumpet sounded weedy on Let Me Kiss You, but really I am splitting hairs here. Otherwise...

 

The set concluded with the epic Life Is A Pigsty, with its Magazine-like intro and singalong finale, being followed by a wonderfully funky How Soon Is Now and a ferocious Irish Blood English Heart - a fab finale by any standards. It was so good in fact that the encore - the old Smiths fave Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before - was almost anti-climactic in comparison.

 

On a personal note there was a lovely moment about mid-way when my son nudged me and said "Morrissey's got a new fan". And when I asked who, he just grinned at me. He had a ball!

And so did I. I've seen him a few times in the meantime, but this was the best Morrissey gig I've seen in 15yrs.

 

I wasn't wild about the support act KristeenYoung though. Playing keyboards and backed only by a live drummer, she came on looking like she had just escaped from a Vivienne Westwood show. But whilst she sounded like Patti Smith when she concentrated on her lower range, unfortunately she would intersperse each line with high pitched 'ooh' wailing. She played a nice slow number which brought Kate Bush to mind, but again this was spoilt by her vocal style, as this was a Kate Bush who was trying to be Aretha here and Klaus nomi there. I must admit I thought that most of the set was rubbish, but the odd number like the KB one and the drum and bass one showed that there was talent there. She just needs to learn the meaning of the word restraint.

 

Set list: Panic / First Of The Gang To Die / The Youngest Was The Most Loved / In The Future When All's Well / I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now / Girlfriend In A Coma / You Have Killed Me / To Me You Are A Work Of Art / I Will See You In Far-off Places / Let Me Kiss You / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / Ganglord / At Last I Am Born / Life Is A Pigsty / How Soon Is Now? / Irish Blood, English Heart / Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

 

Author: Keith Astbury

 
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