Concert Review: Morrissey Leaves the Crowd Wanting More, as Always, in Waterbury

Morrissey knew exactly what his fans wanted Saturday night at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, but, given that he’s Morrissey, he never fully surrendered to their desire.

“Every song, written in blood,” the well-quiffed singer remarked after “Ouija Board, Ouija Board,” and just as the crowd teetered into full swoon, he pulled it back, adding, “Not mine.”

Ah, but those blood-scrawled songs were the reason the audience was there: to commiserate with the profound, unrequited and just-unspecific-enough longing that Morrissey revels in with such droll, biting wit. That he always holds himself at a slight distance may well be the secret to his longevity: by never quite revealing all of himself, there’s always the chance that next time he will. It puts a different spin on the old show-biz adage “always leave them wanting more.”

His songs don’t hurt, either, of course. Morrissey’s set list mostly focused on the past decade of his solo career, mixing in a handful of tunes by the Smiths, the iconic, incredibly influential (to say the least) band he fronted in the ’80s.  His voice remains in remarkable shape: he crooned disconsolately on the Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over,” sent his vocals rising and falling in deft little swirls on “People Are the Same Everywhere” and growled out the lyrics on “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours.”

His lower jaw jutted determinedly while he sang, and he often patrolled the lip of the stage, touching the hands of people in the crowd, staring forlornly into the middle distance with eyes a piercing shade of blue even from a distance. Speaking of revealing himself, Morrissey’s shirts were always unbuttoned or unzipped at least halfway, and he tore his shirt off entirely on “Let Me Kiss You,” to a wave of adulation.

After he ended his main set with “I’m OK By Myself,” Morrissey returned to sing the Smiths’ “Still Ill” while people in the crowd leaped on stage and raced to hug him as a pair of soccer hooligan-like bouncers sought to repel them. Even at the end, Morrissey wouldn’t give himself over completely. Maybe next time.

— Eric R. Danton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *