Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom, Nov. 25

Which Morrissey were we going to get? The one with the singular voice that envelops you in a world his lyrics have created? Or the one who keeps his audience at arm’s length and is disinterested in his own shows? We got a bit of each. His voice—save for the encore when it was all but gone—sounded as good as can be. It was enrapturing to hear a human instrument so unique and in tune with the songs it presents. And the first half of the show was good, about as high-energy as is possible from an enigmatic and moody singer. Then came “Meat Is Murder,” one of four Smiths songs he played. The hard-core vegetarian tackled the song with a video backdrop showing awful scenes of animal torture so harrowing I had to turn away. As this is his show, his platform, I had no problem with it. But introducing the band right after the tune seemed an odd choice. And from there, the pace was slowed, the enthusiasm dampened, the songs not as engaging. But that’s the risk you run with the influential yet persnickety genius. You go for the moments of brilliance and tolerate the rest. In fact, the opening number, another Smiths song, was the perfect metaphor for the entire show, “I Want the One I Can’t Have.”



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