(Planet Me)
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

4 days after his autobiography, and the world's most unreliable man offers us a live DVD. Being the first official Morrissey live film since 2004, it's also the first without his core band of 1991-2004 ; Gary Day and Alain Whyte having moved on. His new lineup is a somewhat anonymous selection of American session musicians, who thankfully have gained some subtlety - the band that stomped through "This Charming Man" in 2009 has been upgraded, and on the DVD, the sound is powerful, yet tender. On a purely visual note, it's a well-presented show with interesting camera angles, but, sadly an overall area of sycophancy. At three points, Morrissey interrupts the between song moments to let his front row attendees tell him how amazing he is for breathing, which is embarrassing to watch and boring to watch more than once.

Being 4 years after his latest album, and Morrissey still hoping for the kind of record deal that he could only get in 1987, the set follows his usual mixture of songs from his most recent record, a couple of mix-period trinkets, and a clutch of old Smiths songs. The 90 minute set is over quickly, but has three overwise unheard Morrissey originals, and a 'new' cover of "To Give Is The Reason I Live" : on the other hand, only a handful of these songs have been released before live on film by Morrissey, so it provides a broad cross-section of his work : not for him the drearily predictable same 12 old hit singles as favoured by many of his once-contemporaries, who always play the same old songs in the same old order at every single live show. He only performed four live shows after this one, and to be honest, whilst he crows about it being 'intimate', I've seen Morrissey in much smaller places. Maybe it's just America he mostly headlines baseball arenas?

Extras are worthwhile : four new songs recorded with Tony Visconti in a studio in Dublin, that practically make an EP of new material. A couple of behind the scenes things, and then that's your lot. If this is Morrissey saying goodbye, or farewell ; and it does have a sense of finality, then so be it. At this then, he ends as he started, singing his life as the world's worst kept secret.

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