Published Thu, Jan 24, 2013 2:05 pm Dateline
Rock concerts typically allow the audience to leave the venue feeling like they "know" the performers more intimately than they did before the show.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Morrissey finally performed at Columbus’ LC Pavilion after cancelling his October 2012 date.
Although diehard fans were upset over missing a highly anticipated performance from one of the most iconic musicians of the past 20 years, any resentment faded quickly when Morrissey strode out onto the stage with his band.
It's hard to describe the Morrissey concert experience to anyone who hasn’t been truly affected by his music and his image. But suffice to say, actually seeing the man in person is enough to excuse any tardiness in the actual date of the show.
After a bit of precious stage banter from Morrissey and a comment about his "heart swelling" in response to the crowd’s shrieking reception, the singer and band immediately launched into a sharp rendition of The Smiths’ 1987 single "Shoplifters of the World Unite," a refreshing opener for fans more acquainted with Moz' early collaboration with Johnny Marr.
Although Morrissey tends to play down much of his work with his former band, he sang a number of Smiths songs throughout the night, including an impassioned version of "Still Ill," a gorgeous take on "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want," a characteristically dramatic rendition of "Meat Is Murder" and a mind-blowing arrangement of "How Soon Is Now?"
A humble fan received the mic from Morrissey several songs into the set, only to request "Frankly, Mr. Shankly," a number from The Smiths' 1986 masterpiece The Queen Is Dead.
This was not something Morrissey liked hearing and he responded with a staunch refusal, simply stating, "Absolutely not. Never." However, after saying this, he broke into "I Know It’s Over," which immediately follows "Shankly" on the same album.
The set list was pretty diverse, with the band skillfully jumping from the aforementioned Smiths period to various pieces throughout Morrissey’s discography.
Songs from early in his solo career, such as "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday," mingled well with more recent material, like "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "Action Is My Middle Name."
Live performance does a lot for songs like "Ouija Board" as well as "Speedway," as these are tunes that can, debatably, fall a little flat within the contexts of the albums on which they were originally released.
To say Morrissey has "stage presence" would be an incredible understatement. The way he had the entire audience wrapped up in every movement of his expressive eyebrows is a testament to his ability to command attention without ever really allowing his fans to get too close.
As every fan hoped, there was a wonderfully odd space towards the end of the show during which Morrissey did poetically speak on the "wretchedness" of humanity.
Although you’d think that the relatively steep price of admission would have pushed away all but the most serious of fans, this comment was greeted by several people in the back, yelling "Get over it!" to which Morrissey gracefully responded "Original wisdom, drifting in over the crowd."
No true Morrissey fan would ever want Morrissey to "get over it." Because no true Morrissey fan has ever "gotten over it," which is precisely why they need him.
Although the overtly expressive style in which all Morrissey songs are written would seemingly allow fans to find intimacy with their idol during a live performance, that just wasn't the case.
Every fan in Tuesday's audience left the venue knowing as little about the singer as when they arrived, because if there is something Morrissey is truly impeccable at doing, it's sustaining his image as a pop star.
An impenetrable, mysterious pop star.