Album Review: Live at Earls Court by Morrissey (2005) (Attack Records)

If 2004’s You are the Quarry did not quite re-acquaint you with the reasons why you were Morrissey initially appealed, then this subsequent live album reminds you that it is as much about his charisma, as it is about the brilliance of his music.

Morrissey

Recorded (despite the misleading album name) over five UK gigs on the You Are the Quarry tour of 2004, this album sees him move away from the uninspired attempt at a ‘live best of…’ (as seen in 1993’s Beethoven was Deaf), and take a more considered approach that offers a wider representation of his work and thus helps to encapsulate the ‘mutual love in’ between the man and his fans that was exuded in his live performances.

Now not afraid to embrace his work from The Smiths with several decent covers (the best of which is the sublime version of the albums opener How Soon is Now) and mix these  with his favourite B’s sides such as Don’t make Fun of Daddys’ Voice I have forgiven Jesus and an excellent cover of Patti Smiths‘ Redondo Beach (see below), the album thrives by avoiding the whole ‘look at all your favourite tracks’ feel which is often the lazy safe bet.

Of course ‘the favourites’ are not totally avoided, with tracks such as Irish Blood, English HeartFirst of the Gang to Die (see below) and the World is Full of Crashing Bores, ensuring that the album has a substance that courts commercial viability.

In my opinion this album eclipses any other live work he has ever done, either as a solo artist or with The Smiths. At the time of recording he was now an elder musical statesmen with no real need to court our affection, essentially he had it anyway.  As such for energetic ‘performance and breathless aural spectacle, such as that heard on Rank is gone. Instead the album is all about an artist so self assured, that the very notion of providing a spectacle is simply below his lofty position in the world of cool. He no longer needs to provide pantomime.

I have a lot of music, although only a dozen or so live albums. Out of these this is the only one that still gets regular play…superb stuff.

Artist Links:  morrisseyofficial.comFacebook,  YouTubeTwitter

Label Links:  Discogs

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