Belfast Telegraph

Review: Morrissey's mix of majestic and mediocre at Belfast's Odyssey Arena

By Joe Nawaz

They say you should never meat your heroes, or make terrible puns about them.

But seriously, it's only slightly more ludicrous than the column inches devoted to the animal protein ban at the Morrissey concert at the Odyssey.

Let's leave aside the non-story of "infamous proscriber of meat products at his gigs proscribes meat products at one of his gigs".

Stop wondering for a moment about who actually eats hot dogs at a rock gig and you realise depressingly that Morrissey's once bright star has long since migrated from the music pages to the gossip columns.

That didn't stop the faithful from turning up in their be-quiffed, be-booted hordes last night. Indeed, the walk to the Odyssey took on the feel of an middle-aged indie Road to Amarillo.

There's always a sense of trepidation as a fan going to a Morrissey gig; will he "do a racism"? Will he do a song from his new album?

"Louis McNeice, Louis McNeice, Louis McNeice. Ponce!" is what he possibly said by way of introduction to the Belfast audience - but it may have been "Prince".

It's so hard to discern manicured Mancunian diction from the wilderness of up in the gods.

Resplendent in a marvellous shirt that was formerly seen on Star Trek the Next Generation, Moz and band launched into a giddy, glorious one-two of The Queen is Dead, with accompanying images that'd make an Orangeman blush, and Suedehead before, as feared, a slurry of new album tracks spilled out to slow the tempo.

Expertly played, but lacking in lyrical bite or melody, it set the pattern for the evening: a couple of crackers followed by interludes of mediocrity.

For example, World Peace is None of Your Business seems to be have written simply to prove the Spinal Tap maxim that there's a fine line between stupid and clever.

And at one point, even the endlessly pretty lights start to pall like a duvet over a coffin.

But there was enough truth, beauty and sheer pop thrills - such as a thumpingly majestic Every Day Is Like Sunday and a shimmering Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before to forgive the bouts of tuneless frugging workouts from the band.

Moz was his usual waspish self with quips about "The X-factory" and other scary pop-cultural phenomena.

He flounced and flayed with his mic lead about the stage and the whole thing had the feel of a supremely muscular LA revue, with a little gristle, that you'd actually pay good money to see.

He encores with, naturally, Irish Blood, English Heart and the audience, not for the first time, forgave this capricious, cosseted but charismatic crooner everything. And I have absolutely no beef with that.

Three stars

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