Thursday, January 17, 2013

Morrissey at the Strathmore

Financially eviscerated, and no one to blame but
 yourself (note to pedants: concert was re-scheduled)
Morrissey sings on You Were Good In Your Time, a song from a characteristically average solo effort called Years of Refusal (2009), “You were good in your time/And we thank you so/You said more in one day/Than most people say/In a lifetime…” Possibly paraphrasing his critics and former fans, it seems like a defiant, not to mention masturbatory, counter-attack to suggestions that he should call it a day. Last night at the Strathmore Concert Hall in North Bethesda, there was more than enough adulation in the air to blow away any plans he ever harboured to retire. Nonetheless, he really should. And people like me should stop spending $87.50 on tickets (including charges) just to have our view confirmed that his best songs were composed long ago, and he’s no longer much good at singing them.

Not that the concert was bad, if you forget about the price tag, and the seat high up in the balcony with a distant view of the stalwart vegetarian and his journeyman band-mates. For what it’s worth, it was much, much better than the two previous times I’ve seen him solo, at the 9.30 Club and at the sonically challenged outdoor Wolf Trap. The overall delivery was solid, the sound was strong, and like any middle-aged fool for the better days of indie-pop, I waited for the next old hit as though Steve Jobs had never invented playlists on shuffle. If I was Morrissey's music teacher making a neutral assessment, I'd give it a B minus.

It’s hard, though, to feel moved by the music when you’re stuck in a theatre seat, and the woman to your right spends the entire first half of the concert sending texts. At one point, five people directly around me were fucking about on their cell phones, and they