Morrissey at 3Arena – Review & Photos
Morrissey played Dublin’s 3Arena tonight, December 1st.
‘Look at that cow in the field / It knows more than your bride does now.’ That’s a Morrissey lyric. No, really. It is. A man who is generally regarded as one the greatest lyricists of this or any other generation has included those plodding lines in Kick The Bride Down The Aisle, one of the many songs from World Peace Is None of Your Business that are included in the set of his 3 Arena show.
It’s understandable that a musician would want to showcase their new material and perhaps be tired of playing the same old stuff over and over again. This wouldn’t be much of a problem but the fact is that apart from the title track, Istanbul and Neal Cassidy Drops Dead, which all get an airing tonight, it really isn’t a particularly good album and the set’s over-reliance on its material make this gig a bit of a chore. For an artist who is known to inspire such devotion in his followers, it’s telling that there is a lot of chatter during the quieter moments of Smiler With Knife. There are still large swathes of devotees up the front stretching out their hands hoping to touch their hero but generally, there is an air of apathy from both artist and audience.
Things did start off well. The crowd were treated to a montage of Ramones, New York Dolls and Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead Thatcher-baiting on the big screen before the man himself arrived on stage to a backdrop of the Queen giving the middle finger and then Wills and Kate United Kingdumb (see what he did there?) posters as the band launched into fiery versions of The Queen Is Dead and Suedehead.
After that, things just get a little boring and predictable. The band are decked out in ‘Fuck Harvest Records’ t-shirts and there are several digs at the record label that he recently departed in less than favourable circumstances. Those that have read Morrissey’s autobiography will know that he’s not a fan of record companies (yet he’s also previously said he would never self-release records) so this isn’t exactly shocking news. There are the “It’s a cruel, nasty, vicious world” laments, again standard Morrissey fare, and there are a batch of songs that really aren’t all that engaging, save for a couple of notable exceptions. Scandanavia’s pounding drums make it shine while the piano on Trouble Loves Me, played under soft blue lighting is a special moment.
After the generally low-key, uninteresting air of the whole affair, the audience was stunned to attention by the gory, horrific video of animals being slaughtered that accompanied Meat Is Murder. It made for extremely uncomfortable viewing and there were audience members visibly shocked and even shedding tears at what was being presented to them on screen.
Perhaps that was the plan all along. A piece of performance art, lulling the audience into a state of boredom so that the shocking message you want to get across has maximum impact.
Or perhaps we’re giving Morrissey more credit than he deserves for a below par performance.