A « young » Morrissey hit the stage for more than 80 minutes at the newly renovated Métropole this past Sunday. A show that will stay in people’s minds for a long time because the singer showed his best musical assets with an energy and a collection of his songs from his solo albums and four Smiths’ songs. Here’s my review.
«Le concert à Lausanne» took place. What a relief! I almost won a ton of bets… Well I would have had to bet. People of my gang were wondering if «Morrissey in Lausanne» was just a recurrent illusion, a dream that could not be true, a fantasy of some fans like me who like to have that kind of fantasies in their daily normal life. Not only it was true this time, but it seemed completely natural. See, Morrissey is back and forth in Lausanne as a resident like Bowie before… He likes Lausanne, he told us… It is indeed the best place to rest and enjoy the lake Geneva beauty. What other «local» could have been better that him to inaugurate the renovated «Métropole» and its amazing acoustic power ? A few days prior to the gig, Le Métropole’s management did play «Now my heart is full» to the journalist who were there to discover the shiny new hall. And the result was spectacular. So here we go, 6.15 pm on a Sunday. 15 minutes, we are at the door and the Morrissey crowd did not change much in 10 years (last time I saw Morrissey was in 2006 at the Olympia).
References to the slaughter of innocent animals
Guys with neat sideburns and wet quiffs, girls with fancy English 80’s psychobilly clothes, a crowd mixed with Peta representatives and other animal movements’ militants here too give away leaflets showing how friendly animals are and how a pig called Lulu saved the life of his master who just had a heart attack by liying in the middle of the road and guiding the driver to his house… The unusual initiative of Morrissey to give space to those associations must be saluted even if you feel there are too many references to the slaughter of innocent animals in abattoirs in the show. Yes, as a meat eater you might feel bullied by the horror of the scenes during «Meat is murder», that presence of militants is precious though and reminds us that we are all animals with empathy, memory, and a capacity to mourn or to have (homo)sexual relationships.
« Emmenez-moi » shown at the end of the pre-show video
After a sort of revival of the pop-culture of the 60’s and the 70’s of Morrissey cultural paradigm on a big screen ended by a few sequences including a video footage of another Lausanne resident Charles Aznavour (singing «Emmenez-moi»), we ‘re right into the show’s intro. «Suedehead» throws everybody who discovered Morrissey during the Stephen Streets years back in the late 80’s. Then «Alma Matters» that I am pretty sure I listened for the first time in a live interpretation. The comeback of Morrissey in 2002 at the Paris Mutualité avoided that song… was it because Maladjusted did not find a great success in France? I don’t know. «Alma Matters» is a powerful song, a radio hit that did not perform in the playlists. I remember playing it on the Oxford airwaves with a sense of pride and a real joy. We had a great Morrissey single in hands, a song like «Let me Kiss You», «You Have Killed Me» or «Tomorrow» that could appeal to the non-Moz’s-masses. Back in the days, it was all Oasis-Verve-Radiohead and Morrissey was very much in tune with «Alma Matters». A real pop anthem that should been more played live. It is done now and I loved watching people singing it around me.
« Lausanne tonight I’m all yours »
During all the show, Moz was very generous with his audience and his band, very happy to be there too. «Bonjour, Lausanne… tonight I’m all yours». Musicwise,«Speedway» is an opportunity to hear Gustavo Manzur’s voice in castillano, Boz Boorer loudly taking over Matt Walker’s drums. «Speedway» in its bilingual aspect is a novelty, a very emotional song, a very dark rock and magical piece like «Jack the Ripper», or «Last Night I Dreamt thar Somebody Loved Me». The chainsaw introducing that song is a symbol of all the hatred that Morrissey accumulated in his own country (and a few other places…) because of his words sometimes said with so much ambiguity about other communities living in England, his attitude at times very hard to understand about his own entourage on tour or on a more settled down day-to-day business life and probably because of his megalomaniac tendencies. Though I must admit I found him to be on a totally opposite side Sunday night and each night I saw him live. «Speedway» is probably a good answer to all those criticisms. And the best answer is delivered live involving one musician who brings a very different taste to Morrissey’s sound. Morrissey is at its highest in terms of creativity. The 2014 album contains songs that are well-fitted for concerts.The singer makes himself heard singing the chorus of most songs. On a rather loud version of « Staircase at the University », the music volume would go down a bit revealing a real pleasant and deep voice.
«How Soon is Now?» is played and dedicated to the French actress Capucine who died in Lausanne, she was a beautiful égerie of Givenchy, she also befriended Audrey Hepburn and was Mrs Clouseau in «The Pink Panther». «Ganglord» shows a lot of the filmed scenes of police violence in the US, including the latest killings (a black man shot in the back by a white policeman in Charleston, North Carolina)… horrible once again. A Morrissey concert is not only about nice songs that you know by heart, it is also a real political statement. We are being ruled by a ultra-controlled class of politicians who like to overly secure the life of citizens up to a point where violence is too easliy allowed in streets or in trafic controls, particularly in the States but also in other «modern and advanced» countries.
The Queen is Dead as a finale
Morrissey sings perfectly well and seemed to enjoy himself, so is his band composed of Gustavo Manzur, Jessie Tobias, Matt Walker, Mando Lopez and Boz Boorer. «Oboe Concerto» offers a nice break in a powerful setlist. The Smiths’s song are back in the end «What she said», a raw guitar song with that sense of emergency. The encore is a way of making a link with a «small» but essential discography of The Smiths (four studio albums for The Smiths, ten for Morrissey) : «The Queen is Dead» is probably the biggest political and poetic message that Morrissey sent to the world. A masterpiece of irreverence and also a good way to say that Britain is still stuck in his own past. The generic song itself but also the full album with such songs as «Bigmouth Strikes Again», «Vicar in a Tutu», «Some Girls are Bigger than Others» and of course «There is a Light that Never Goes Out» is an essential summary of what Morrissey and Marr were creatively, an original pair who did not care about becoming U2. Morrissey and his band may have needed three tries before making it happen in Lausanne but it was worth the wait. Moz was in shape and fighting fit for the stage. The shirt thrown to the fans at the end of the show proved that the gladiator is really here for a long time and not ready to give up.